The Bombay High Court has ordered the Maharashtra government and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to explore all possible options to minimise the sufferings of its citizens due to the havoc created by COVID-19. The HC has, accordingly, ordered the authorities to consider the suggestions put forth by activists, which could help improve the treatment provided to both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Amjad Sayed, however, clarified that these suggestions should be accepted only if they are ‘realistic and within medical protocol’.
The judges were dealing with a clutch of petitions filed by several activists, led by Dayanand Stalin, highlighting various issues amidst the pandemic.
The issues highlighted by these activists include how both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients have been refused treatment in government as well as private hospitals, leading to the death of a number of them. They also touch upon the lack of requisite medical facilities made available to non-COVID-19 patients, as many of them have been unnecessarily suffering and have even succumbed to their respective ailments or disease for want of proper treatment.
The petition was opposed by senior counsel Anil Sakhare, who appeared for the BMC. He told the bench that sufficient arrangements are in place to look after the needs of non-COVID-19 patients.
At this, the activists apprised the bench with a list of suggestions they propose to put forth for the authorities to make use of.
"If accepted and implemented by the civic body and the state, the authorities would go a long way to ensure better health conditions for COVID-19 as well as non-COVID-19 patients," claimed advocate Ankit Kulkarni, who appeared for Stalin.
After considering the submissions advanced, CJ Datta said, "Having regard to the havoc wreaked by the virus and, in the absence of any therapeutic cure for the disease, every possible option ought to be explored so that the suffering of the people at large can be minimised to the extent possible."
"If indeed what these activists and the private institutions suggest are of any help or assistance to mankind, we see no reason as to why the state and the corporation may not consider the same in its true perspective," CJ Datta added.
The bench has, however, clarified that these suggestions can be accepted only if they are realistic and within medical protocol.
The activists have been ordered to submit suggestions before May 22, when the authorities will be reporting to the bench on whether it would be using the same or not.
One of the most important suggestions put forth by the activists include the use of mobile clinics. "This will be of great help, especially for non-COVID-19 patients. It will ensure that such patients need not visit some hospital and risk their lives by getting exposed to the virus," advocate Ankit Kulkarni said.
"We have requested the civic body to have such mobile clinics in every ward of the city and as per the requirement," Kulkarni added.