SC seeks response of Centre, states on treatment of COVID-19 patients, handling of bodies
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday termed as "horrific" the state of affairs in Delhi hospitals with bodies being stacked next to COVID-19 patients, and sought responses from the Centre and different states on its plea taking suo motu (on its own) cognisance on the treatment being meted out to patients and the handling of the bodies.
Hospitals are not giving due care to keeping of bodies and not even informing family members about death of patients, as a result they are unable to attend the last rites, the top court said.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah questioned the Delhi government on fewer COVID-19 tests being conducted and asked, “Why has your testing gone down from 7,000 to 5,000 a day”.
It said that in Chennai and Mumbai, the number of COVID tests have been increased.
"The situation in Delhi is horrendous, horrific and pathetic," the bench said.
It also issued notices to the Centre, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu on the state of affairs at the hospitals vis-a-vis treatment of coronavirus (COIVD-19) patients and handling of the bodies.
It said the guidelines of the central government are not being followed and directed the Chief Secretaries of the states to take stock of patient management system and submit status report regarding hospital staff and patient care.
The top court had on Thursday taken suo motu cognisance of reports of improper handling of COVID-19 patients and undignified disposal of the victims' bodies in the country.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Bobde had taken note of the situation relating to the handling of COVID-19 patients and bodies of the victims and assigned the case to a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.
The top court titled the case as "Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in Hospitals etc." and listed the matter for Friday.
Reports have been appearing in the media on alleged improper handling of COVID-19 patients and bodies of the victims in hospitals.
Earlier, former law minister and senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar had written to the CJI citing reports that bodies of COVID-19 patients were piling up in hospitals and mortuaries and had urged him to take up the matter suo motu to ensure the right to die with dignity is not violated.
"Since the court has the duty and the power to ensure that the law declared by it is actually enforced, it is requested that the court takes suo-motu notice of the matter," the letter said.