Supreme Court seeks response from Centre, states on COVID-19 management

The SC on Friday issued notice to the governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu over mismanagement of COVID-19 patients and disposal of dead bodies.

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu over mismanagement of COVID-19 patients and disposal of dead bodies.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah said that it was shocked by the deplorable manner in which hospitals have handled dead bodies of COVID-19 patients.

The apex court said that due care were not given by hospitals in keeping dead bodies. Relatives are not informed of the death, it said.

Citing media reports, the SC said that it was the duty of every state to ensure that daily testing increases and not to keep people in waiting to be tested for COVID-19.

The SC directed chief secretaries of states to look into the situation of patient management system and submit a status report. The court also issued notice to the Centre to submit its response in the matter.

The SC listed the matter for June 17.

The top court also issued a separate notice to Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, from where horrific visuals of mismanagement of patients suffering from COVID-19 emerged.

The visuals showed patients lying in pathetic conditions. Dead bodies were seen lying in the ward, lobby and waiting area.

The top court further asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government to explain why testing has decreased despite the surging cases in the national capital.

The media reports has showed the deplorable conditions of people in hospitals, the bench noted.

"While Mumbai is testing 16,000 to 17,000 per day, in Delhi it has gone down to 7,000-5,000 a day. The situation in Delhi is horrific and pathetic. Media has exposed a very sorry state of affairs in its hospitals," the top court said, taking a suo motu cognizance in the matter.

Delhi has reported third highest COVID-19 cases in India after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with 34,687 COVID-19 positive cases, including 12,731 recovered cases and 1,085 deaths, according to the Union Health Ministry.

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First Published:June 12, 2020, 4:39 p.m.