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Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

SC refuses to lift stay on AAP plea to reserve 80% ICU beds for covid patients

  • Delhi government’s plea stated that the courts cannot interfere with policy decisions of the State, especially when the policy decision is taken in public interest

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to vacate the stay granted by Delhi High Court against the decision of the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government to reserve 80% ICU beds in private hospitals for covid-19 patients and asked the state government to approach High Court's division bench.

Acceding to the request the apex court division bench took on record the submissions made and ordered, “Looking to the facts of the case and the request made by learned counsel for the parties, we request the concerned Bench (of the Delhi high court) for taking up the letters patent appeal (LPA) on November 12."

On 22 September, a single-judge bench of Delhi High Court had stayed the decision of the state government directing 33 private hospitals to reserve 80% of their ICU beds for covid-19 patients. The bench had held that such a direction was in violation of the fundamental rights of those patients who had other serious health conditions.

While staying the Delhi government's 13 September order, the high court had rebuked the state counsel and asked whether non-covid patients have a right to life or not.

The Delhi government had challenged the 22 September order before a two-judge bench in the high court and also approached Supreme court with a special leave petition on 5 November. The government’s plea stated that the courts cannot interfere with policy decisions of the State, especially when the policy decision is taken in public interest.

On Tuesday, the special judge vacation bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and BR Gavai raised the issue of the Delhi government coming to Supreme court with the case still pending in the high court.

Arguing for a stay on the order Additional solicitor general Sajay Jain, representing Delhi government said “We are willing to go back to the Delhi high court but we request if the HC judgment could be stayed for a week as this week is crucial. Due to Diwali, people are intermingling and cases will go beyond control… If our order (of September 12) would not have been stayed; we could have got 500 more beds to admit Covid-19 patients. The current requirement is for more than 6000 beds and Delhi government hospitals, put together, can provide only up to 4,000 beds."

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