New Delhi: In times to come, April 27, 2021 would go down the memory lane as a Red Letter Day. The over smartness of a party and its cantankerous leader thriving with 'populist' measures and tricks stood exposed.
The Delhi High Court angrily observed: “Why did you cause this sort of a controversy? (luxury hotel Covid facilities)".
The two judges further went on in an unprecedented manner: "The perception is that we asked the Delhi Government for a special facility. Or that you did it to appease us. You did everything on paper”. Justice Vipin Sanghi was categorical: "The High Court has not made any such request and no communication was made in this regard".
The strong reprimand came when the Delhi High Court was hearing a case on distribution of medical oxygen supply and a row over special facilities for judges and High Court staff at five star Ashoka Hotel.
"Enough is enough. If you can’t do it, tell us, we will ask the Central govt to take over. People are dying," the court said in reference to oxygen supply issue.
After the submissions by one of the suppliers, Seth Air, on its failure to supply oxygen to Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli said: “Get your house in order".
On the 'luxury hotel' row for the judges and court officials, the Delhi High Court said it had never asked for Covid facilities at a five-star hotel. “When did we ask for a 100-bed facility at a five-star hotel? We had only said if a judicial officer or a judge or their family is infected, they should get hospital admission," the bench said adding "Our concern is with respect to judicial officers in lower judiciary who have to hold court". "We have already lost two judicial officers".
The court ordered the city government headed by a populist Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to “immediately withdraw” its decision to assign 100 rooms at the posh hotel for judges, court officials and their families. "Can you imagine that we can ask for something like this. People are not getting hospitals and we are asking you for beds in luxury hotels," the court said.
Counsel for the AAP government faced a tough time and looked embarrassed and said there was 'no malice' behind the move. It was the media that had created the perception. “Can you imagine that we can ask for something like this. People are not getting hospitals and we are asking you for beds in luxury hotels. Media is not wrong. Your order is wrong,” the High Court shot back. “It is beyond thinking that as an institution we will ask for the facility. How can you give facilities to one section? It would be better that you withdraw these orders immediately.”
Congress spokesman Pawan Khera says the Delhi government's decision to arrange five star hotel facilities for High Court staff and judges was a "rude shock".
Chanakyapuri sub-divisional magistrate Geeta Grover on Monday, April 26, had said in an order that 100 rooms at the Ashoka Hotel would be turned into Covid rooms for judges, judicial officers and their families. The order said Primus Hospital would run the Covid care services at the hotel.
“The biomedical waste disposal will be the responsibility of the hospital. The staff of hotel shall be provided all protective gear and given basic adequate training. Ambulance for transfer facility will be provided by Primus Hospital,” the order said.“For any shortage of hotel staff, the same will be provided by the hospital. All the services including rooms, housekeeping, disinfection and food for patients etc shall be provided by the hotel,” it said.
On Oxygen issue, Seth Air had claimed that the Delhi Government does not have an answer as to the distribution of oxygen supply. The Bench pulled up the GNCTD saying,
“Again we are seeing you are only doing distribution of lollipops. This man is saying he has 20 tonnes but doesn’t know who to distribute to".
"You don't have oxygen, and you are talking about having a 100 bed facility for us. It's unfortunate." Justice Rekha Palli said.
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs lashed out at the Delhi government for mismanagement of available infrastructure and support in the fight against Covid-19.
The Centre directed the state government to resolve the logistics issue immediately and set up a control room to address the crisis in an “urgent, effective, innovative and result oriented” way. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in a letter on April 25 to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev said that efforts of the city government have not been up to the mark.
The centre has launched all out efforts to augment the supply of oxygen both from within the country and also from abroad. The Centre has also issued directions to all the state governments to ensure uninterrupted movement of oxygen tankers by passing orders under the Disaster Management Act.
## Why Indians are rushing to hospitals, says WHO
Meanwhile, notwithstanding the second wave pandemic crisis in India, the WHO has said people in India are more often rushing to hospitals rather unnecessarily. "Currently, part of the problem is that many people rush to the hospital (also because they do not have access to information/advice), even though home-based care monitoring at home can be managed very safely," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said. On April 26, Monday, India's daily cases graph reached an all time high 352,991.
But on Tuesday, it came down a bit to 323,144.