Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has ordered the city civic body and the Maharashtra government to explore every possible option to minimise the sufferings of the citizens due to the havoc wrecked by the COVID-19 virus. The HC has accordingly ordered the authorities to consider the suggestions put forth by city's activists, which could help for better treatment of people who have tested positive for the virus, as well as other 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 amid the pandemic.

The issues highlighted by these activists ranged from how both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients have been refused treatment in government as well as private hospitals. This, they said, had led to death for a number of people. The lack of requisite medical facilities made available for non-COVID-19 patients had led to many of them suffering unnecessarily and even succumbing to their respective ailments or diseases for want of proper treatment.

The petition was opposed by senior counsel Anil Sakhare, who appeared for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (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 of the list of suggestions that they propose the authorities should make use of.

"If accepted and implemented by the civic body and the state, the suggestions 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 for the havoc wreaked by COVID-19, 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.

The suggestions

One of the most important suggestions put forth by the activists include use of mobile clinics. "This will be of great help, especially for non-COVID-19 patients. It will ensure that such patients need not go to 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 requirement," Kulkarni added.

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