The Delhi High Court has asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and the Delhi government to “explore the possibility of accommodating” outstation patients who had come to the AIIMS for treatment.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar, asked them to apprise the availability of facilities to the court by the next hearing (May 14).

The court was hearing a petition, filed by Karan Seth, seeking urgent relief for around 350 severely ill people and their kin/care givers staying at night shelters and tents in and around the AIIMS.

Senior advocate Darpan Wadhva, appearing for the petitioner, said the people at the night shelter be shifted to Gargi School. “The two lists, prepared by the petitioner, show 76 people have been shifted to Gargi School, and 74 are still staying there,” the court noted.

“Social distancing norms are not being maintained at the night shelter,” Wadhva told the court.

Advocate Parvinder Chauhan, appearing for DUSIB, said two kinds of accommodation were being provided — tents, set up on the footpath opposite the AIIMS, and the night shelters, semi pucca structure with toilets. “The occupants of tents have been shifted to Gargi School,” he said.

Agreeing to the petitioner’s submission, Chauhan said, “The social distancing norms are not being kept at the rain basera on account of the large number of occupants. It may be necessary to shift around 100 occupants, either to Vishram Sadan of the AIIMS — if additional capacity is available — or to Gargi School or to Radha Swami Satsang at Bhati, wherever they could be accommodated.”

Rahul Mehra, Delhi government standing counsel, said the facility at Satsang was well managed. But it had to be consulted if the occupants of the night shelter, or some of them, had to be shifted there, he added.

Mehra said he would instruct the District Magistrate (South) to take up the issue with the Satsang.

The court asked advocate Anand Varma to take instructions from the AIIMS whether those inmates, or some of them, could be accommodated at the Vishram Sadan, given that they were receiving treatment at the AIIMS. It would be more convenient if they were accommodated there, it added.

It also asked the DUSIB to explore the possibility of accommodating some of them at Gargi School.

The other aspect raised during the hearing was about transport for those persons. “They are not able to arrange private transport in these times. Also, on account of their financial position they find it difficult to travel to the AIIMS for treatment,” the petitioner said.

On this, the court asked the District Magistrate (South) to arrange transport for the persons shifted to Gargi School. “We direct the DM (South) to make transport facility available to the inmates at Gargi School for travelling to AIIMS as required for treatment,” the Bench said.

The court has also asked the DM to arrange for food as per the requirement of patients at Gargi School.

Reacting to the order, District Magistrate (South) B.M. Mishra told IANS over the phone: “The orders of the high court would be complied with in full letter and spirit.”