Never asked for 5-star rooms as Covid facilities, says Delhi HC after media report
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said it has not made any request for creating Covid-19 facilities for its judges, staff and their families in a five star hotel.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the news reports which said that 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel in national capital have been converted into a Covid health facility for judges of Delhi High Court on its request, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said,"No communication has been made to anyone in this regard".
"We have not made any such request for taking over facilities of a five star hotel," the bench said and directed the Delhi government to "take corrective steps immediately".
In an order issued by the sub-divisional magistrate of Chanakyapuri on April 25, it was stated that the Covid facility at Ashoka Hotel will be associated with Primus Hospital.
The order also said that the facility was being set up on the request of the Delhi High Court.
Terming the order as "wrong", the bench said the image being projected as a result of it was that the Delhi High Court judges have taken it for their benefit or that the Delhi government has done it to appease the court.
The high court also did not agree with senior advocate Rahul Mehra's claim that the media played "mischief", saying "the media is not wrong".
It said that the media only pointed out what was wrong in the order and it was the SDM's order which was wrong.
The bench, in another hearing, also directed the AAP government to check black marketing of oxygen cylinders and crucial medicines for Covid-19 patients and address the issue of oxygen distribution to hospitals as well as individuals.
It directed the Delhi government to file a report on the number of deaths of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and nursing homes due to the shortage of oxygen.
The high court also directed the government to take over the plant of an oxygen refiller for not supplying gas to hospitals and allegedly giving it in black market, and made it clear that the same action should be taken with regard to other suppliers who refuse to fall in line.
Besides, it asked the Delhi government to take account of stock and sale of medicines such as Remdesivir, Fabiflu and Tocilizumab at hospitals' pharmacies, as people are unable to get these drugs which are being sold at much higher rates in black market.
The bench, which was hearing the case relating to oxygen crisis and shortage of medicines to treat Covid-19 patients for over three hours, said non-accounting of oxygen cylinders supplies by Delhi government was leading to artificial shortage of gas and black marketing .
The court observed it is not the time to become vultures.
“Are you aware of black marketing? Is it a good human gesture,” the bench said to oxygen refillers.
It also said the Delhi government's entire system has failed as black marketing of oxygen cylinders and crucial medicines for treating Covid-19 patients is going on.
The bench further said this is a mess that the state government has been unable to resolve.
“You have the power, take action against those engaging in black marketing of oxygen cylinders and medicines,” it said.