The apex court also directed the Centre to collaborate with the states in preparing a buffer stock of oxygen for emergency purposes and to decentralise the location of the emergency stocks
No patient shall be denied admission to hospitals or essential drugs for lack of local residential proof, the Supreme Court said in an order late on Sunday night, according to several media reports.
The apex court further directed that the Central government frame an uniform national policy on hospital admission within two weeks.
Supreme Court ORDER in SUO Motu case – 7 points by the #SupremeCourt
1) The UOI shall ensure, in terms of the assurance of the SG, that the deficit in the supply of oxygen to the GNCTD is rectified within 2 days from the date of the hearing – before the midnight of 3 May 2021 pic.twitter.com/AovCq2ZcLK
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) May 2, 2021
“‘The Central Government shall, within two weeks, formulate a national policy on admissions to hospitals which shall be followed by all State Governments. Till the formulation of such a policy by the Central Government, no patient shall be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in anyState/UT for lack of local residential proof of that State/UToreven in the absence of identity proof”, the order read, as per Live Law.
The court further ordered the Central Government to rectify the deficit in liquid medical oxygen supply for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi on or before the midnight of 3 May. “The UOI shall ensure, in terms of the assurance of the Solicitor General, that the deficit in the supply of oxygen to the GNCTD is rectified within 2 days from the date of the hearing, that is, on or before the midnight of 3 May, 2021,” the apex court further ordered.
The order was handed down by a bench of justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat in the suo moto case regarding distribution of essential services and supplies during the pandemic. The court also directed the Centre to collaborate with the states in preparing a buffer stock of oxygen for emergency purposes and to decentralise the location of the emergency stocks, as per the report.
As per Bar and Bench, the court said it is critical that a buffer emergency stock of oxygen is created “so that in the event that the supply chain is disrupted to any one or more hospitals in an area for any reason, the buffer or emergency stocks can be used to avoid loss of human lives. These emergency stocks must be so distributed so as to be easily accessible without delay in every local area.”
The Supreme Court also directed the Central and state governments to notify all Chief Secretaries/Directors General of Police/Commissioners of Police that any clampdown of information on social media or harassment of individuals seeking/delivering help on any platform will attract a “coercive exercise” of jurisdiction by this Court, as per Bar and Bench.
“The Registrar (Judicial) is also directed to place a copy of this order before all District Magistrates in the country,” the Supreme Court ordered.
As per The Leaflet, the apex court directed the Centre to revisit its initiatives and protocols including the availability of oxygen, availability and pricing of vaccines, availability of essential drugs at affordable prices and even suggested that Centre and the state governments consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super-spreader events.
The court said authorities may consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare. However, the court cautioned that arrangements must be made before the imposition of any lockdown to cater to the needs of the marginalised, as per the report.
The court’s directions come just hours after several hospitals in the National Capital took to social media to plead with authorities for oxygen cylinders and equipment and warned that the lives of their patients were at risk.
The Supreme Court had on Friday stated that there should be no clampdown on citizens seeking help regarding oxygen, medicines and hospitals beds on the internet. “There should be free flow of information, we should hear voices of citizen,” a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud had said, directing the Centre, states and all DGPs not to take any action against anyone posting a shortage of oxygen, beds or doctors as spreading a rumour.
The apex court had on Wednesday termed the situation in India as a ‘national crisis’ and said that it cannot remain a mute spectator. The court, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also clarified that its suo motu proceedings on devising national policy for COVID-19 management is not meant to supplant the high courts across the country and that these courts are in a better position to monitor the situation within their boundaries.
With inputs from PTI