By: Aparajita Patel

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea alleging that the State’s resources were underutilised during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic because COVID-19 treatment facilities were reserved exclusively for government officials and their families.

The suit, filed by Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, called for the quashing of a Delhi government notification authorising the reserving of hotel rooms for the treatment of government officers and their families.

The Court stated that the petitioner’s case lacked merit since it failed to consider the realities of the situation.

The Court further stated that during the second wave, when the majority of civilians were secure in their houses, it was government officials who were in charge of the situation on the streets.

Advocate Rohan Thawani, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, argued that the development of exclusive COVID-19 facilities for officials and their families was contrary to the Indian Constitution and a violation of Article 21’s Right to Life and Right to Health. He went on to say that the meagre resources available were being sucked off for the advantage of the officials.

The petitioner’s main grievance stemmed from a Delhi government notification dated April 27, 2021, which stated that four hotels connected to the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital (RGSSH) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (DDU) would be reserved exclusively for “Officers/Officials of Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Autonomous Bodies, Corporations & Local Bodies” and their families.

For this reason, rooms at the Hotel Ginger, Leela Ambience, Park Plaza, and Golden Tulip were to be set aside.

In addition, the petition asked for the revocation of three Delhi government directives that separated one laboratory and two hospitals for officials and their families.

The Delhi government had earlier this year ordered the construction of 100 rooms at the Hotel Ashok in Chanakyapuri, Delhi, as part of a COVID care facility for judges and judicial staff of the Delhi High Court and their families.

Geeta Grover, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chanakyapuri, issued an order to this effect on April 25. The Delhi High Court has made a request to set up the facility, according to the report.

The government revoked the order after the High Court denied that it had requested allotment of five-star COVID-19 care facilities for its judges and their families.