Clarify stand on seeking Army's help to set up COVID-19 facilities in hospitals, Delhi HC tells Centre

During the hearing, the Delhi government told the HC that the deputy chief minister has written a letter to Rajnath Singh seeking the army's help

Press Trust of India May 03, 2021 16:36:40 IST
Clarify stand on seeking Army's help to set up COVID-19 facilities in hospitals, Delhi HC tells Centre

Representational image. PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Centre to take instructions on the communication by AAP government to the Union Defence Minister requesting help of the army to set up hospitals with oxygenated and ICU beds to treat COVID-19 patients as well as supply cryogenic tanker for oxygen.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was informed by the Delhi government counsel that the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister has written a letter to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday with its request for Army’s help and it will take a day or two to fructify.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, has urged the Centre that it would be grateful if armed forces could run medical facilities for COVID-19 patients with 10,000 beds and also requested the armed forces to provide cryogenic tankers for oxygen supply to the national capital.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Centre, sought time to get instructions and to inform the court.

The bench said, “We direct the Centre to report instructions on the communication by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister to the Defence Minister.”

Following a suggestion by senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, the court had earlier asked the Delhi government to examine the issue for taking services of armed forces in the given situation as they can set up field hospitals which will help a large number of COVID-19 patients in the national capital and take appropriate steps.

The bench had directed the state government to seek the help of the armed forces in getting oxygen and setting up facilities.

A PIL was also mentioned on behalf of petitioner Manisha Gupta, through senior advocates Abhinav Vasisht and Sacchin Puri and lawyer Praveen K Sharma, seeking to hand over management of oxygen supplies to the armed forces for ensuring uninterrupted supply to the hospitals and the COVID-19 facility during the pandemic.

The counsel said when national prestige was involved during the Common Wealth Games in Delhi and a bridge had fallen, the state government had called for Army.

"Now so many lives are involved, so why the Army can't be called now," he added.

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