The Supreme Court on Friday came 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.
“Patients are crying with pain and there is nobody to attend. Beds will go vacant if this is how patients are treated in your hospitals,” it thundered.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah had on Thursday taken suo motu cognizance of reports of improper handling of COVID-19 patients and undignified disposal of victims’ bodies in Delhi hospitals.
The bench termed the situation in Delhi as “horrendous, horrific and pathetic” and reproached the Arvind Kejriwal led-government for patients being placed alongside stacks of dead bodies in the hospitals.
“Dead bodies are being put like this,what is this going on?” questioned Justice Shah.
“…If dead bodies are being treated like this, bodies are being found in garbage… People are being treated worse than animals,” the judge further said.
The court observed that in many cases, patients’ families are not even informed about deaths and haven’t been able to attend the last rites too in some cases.
The apex court noted that there is a problem with the way the pandemic was being fought in the national capital.
It further slammed the fall in testing compared to cities such as Mumbai even as infections continue to spike at an alarmng rate in the country’s capital.
“The number of tests conducted are low in Delhi compared to Chennai and Mumbai…Why are tests so less in Delhi?”
The top court observed that it is the duty of every state government to increase COVID-19 testing and not keep people waiting for long to get tested. Ordering the Delhi government to increase testing capacity in NCR, the Supreme Court made it clear that no one should be denied tests.
“Nobody should be denied testing on technical reasons… simplify procedure so more and more can test for COVID,” the bench ordered.
Delhi has seen a spurt in Coronavirus cases and over 1,000 new cases daily for the past few days. It is the third worst-hit state with 34,687 cases and 1,085 deaths.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has also said that 5.5 lakh cases are expected in Delhi by July 31 based on the current doubling rate which is 12-13 days.
The top court also noted that the situation is grim even in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, in its hearing, also criticised Noida DM order on the necessity of institutional quarantine instead of home quarantine stating that “there can’t be guidelines contrary to national guidelines”, while observing that such situations can create chaos.
The apex court further sought an explanation from the Uttar Pradesh government and ordered Noida DM to review his order.
The Supreme Court’s directions came after Noida DM Suhas LY wrote an open letter to the residents informing them about dos and don’ts.
The apex court has posted the matters for further hearing on June 17.