Delhi HC seeks expert panel to visit city hospitals, check infrastructure

The Delhi High Court Monday proposed to constitute a committee of experts to inspect hospitals in the national capital for available infrastructure, manpower requirement and other aspects concerned with their functioning.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani also directed advocate Prashant Manchanda, who highlighted the crumbling infrastructure and lack of medical facilities in hospitals, and the counsel for the Delhi government to suggest names for the expert panel.

“…give us proposed names consisting of experts – doctors, social workers, technocrats, bureaucrats, engineers, accountants etc., who may be nominated as members of the proposed committee,” the bench said, adding that the list be submitted by May 2.

The bench ordered constitution of the committee following a status report from the government on its Lok Nayak, DDU, GB Pant, GTB and Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospitals.

Referring to the government report, Manchanda informed the court that there is an acute shortage of manpower in Delhi government hospitals and glaring dearth of medical facilities.  Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose conceded to the lack of infrastructure and the acute shortage of manpower.

He requested the court to appoint a committee under the supervision of the Principal Secretary, but the bench didn’t agree to the demand. The bench even remarked, “Mr Ghose, why do you even need an order from us?” Ghose said, “There’s a complete lack of clarity on the administration status”.

After which, the bench observed, “Having heard the counsel for the parties and going through the affidavit and the reports available on record, we are of the considered view that a committee of experts should be constituted to visit various government hospitals in Delhi, with a view to conduct the inspection of the infrastructure facilities available, the manpower requirements, procurement systems in place and other aspects concerned with the functioning of the hospitals and give comprehensive suggestions to this court, which may be considered and thereafter appropriate judicial orders passed with regard to functioning of these hospitals.”

The court was hearing a PIL filed by a school teacher from Karawal Nagar, Madhu Bala, who lost her nine-month-old foetus when she was admitted to Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital for a delivery.

The teacher, who was represented by Manchanda, alleged in her plea that crumbling infrastructure and lack of medical facilities were the reasons behind the death as the hospital did not perform surgery “in the garb of non-availability” of operation theatre.

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