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Cannot suppress numbers, stop shooting messengers, doctors: SC pulls up Delhi govt

The top court was hearing the suo motu cognisance matter on treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in government hospitals.

SNS Web | New Delhi |

As India’s coronavirus tally reached over 3.5 lakh, the Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up Delhi government for FIRs against doctors who are trying to report the on-ground situation.

While hearing the suo motu cognisance matter on treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in government hospitals, the top court said, “Nurses, doctors are in the COVID-19 war. But you are busy in filing FIRs. If you don’t treat the soldiers well then how will you win the war. You have suspended the ones who have shot a video of doctors. You are shooting messengers, doctor and paramedics.”

Bar and  Bench reports, Justice Ashok Bhusan said “You cannot try to suppress numbers. You cannot shoot the messenger which is what you are doing… You are sending a wrong signal”.

“You don’t want proof to come out”, Justice MR Shah remarked.

“Stop harassing doctors and registering FIRs. You can’t suppress the truth. Why did you suspend a doctor who made a video of the pathetic conditions of one of your hospitals?” the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit in the case. “Withdraw shooting of messenger and take remedial steps of the behavior towards doctors”, the Court said.

The bench posted the hearing for Friday.

Appearing for Delhi, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain told the Court that it is not as if the Government is trying to project a false picture. Rather, he submitted, “We are increasing testing. We are taking remedial steps”, reported Bar and Bench.

Jain also said that help desks are now being set up in hospitals, the Court pointed out, “An IAS officer cannot supervise the hospital. Who is manning these health desks? Some other body has to look into this and take steps.”

In the last hearing of the case the Supreme Court had come down heavily on the Delhi government over its handling of dead bodies in hospitals stating it reflected a “very sorry state of affairs” in the national capital amid a spike in Coronavirus cases. Citing media reports on how bodies lie in hospitals stacked against each other, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court observed that lack of beds in hospitals is an issue of concern.

“We are shocked by the deplorable manner in which many hospitals have handled COVID-19 patients’ bodies,” the court said during the hearing.