The Supreme Court of India has served notice to four state governments - Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu over their management of the COVID-19 crisis.
The apex court on Friday reacted to media reports about the improper handling of Coronavirus patients and asked top bureaucrats to take immediate note of the state of patient care in government hospitals and formulate a detailed status report. It also asked the federal government to submit its report before the next hearing of the case on 17 June.
The Supreme Court termed the situation in the national capital as “horrendous, horrific and pathetic” and slammed the Delhi government for the level of care available in the city's hospitals. It served notice to state-funded Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narain Hospital in Delhi on the basis of media reports about the shocking mishandling of bodies of COVID-19 victims.
“All these facts, which have been brought to the notice of the Court by the media reports, clearly indicate a very sorry state of affairs of the patients of Covid-19 in the Government hospitals in the NCT of Delhi as well as in other States,” reads the judgement.
The court said, there is no proper adherence to the guidelines on dead body management as issued by the federal Health Ministry.
“The patients’ relatives are not even informed for several days of the death of the patient as has been reported in the media. It is also brought to our notice that the details of cremation as to when the dead body will be cremated are not even informed to their close relatives. Due to which the families of the patients are not even able to see the dead bodies or attend their last funeral rites,” said the court.
According to federal Health Ministry data released on Friday, Delhi had a caseload of 34,687 COVID 19 patients. of which 20,871 were active cases.
While Delhi’s Health Minister had claimed, the national capital was witnessing “community spread of the novel Coronavirus”, the biomedical research body the Indian Council of Medical Research, has denied that this is the case.