COVID-19 in Maharashtra: One point centres should be set up to help patients, says Bombay HC
BL Soni

In a bid to nail hospitals, both private and government, denying admission to COVID-19 patients citing ‘no beds’, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has come up with a significant solution. The HC has asked authorities in Aurangabad to create one point centers in each district or tehsil, where the such patients could initially visit.

A bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Shrikant Kulkarni said these centers could then refer the patients to any private or government hospitals.

"As there will be more need for beds for COVID-19 patients, people need to know that there are facilities for admission of such patients. At the tehsil level, one central point needs to be created. At the district level as well, one office needs to be set up where the relatives can take the patients from where the patients can be directed either to a public health center or to the private hospital," the judges said.

"The record created by these centers will enable them to take criminal action against the concerned for refusing to admit COVID-19 patients. This court wants to see such a record and that record will help courts to ascertain as to how the offence is committed under the special enactments," the bench opined.

The bench further ordered the authorities to place on record if they have given wide publicity for the availability of beds in public and private hospitals.

The judges were dealing with a criminal suo motu PIL regarding various issues emanating from the outbreak of coronavirus in Aurangabad and nearby districts.

The bench further noted that due to the strict lockdown to be enforced in the city, the numbers are bound to increase and that it would be important to have an adequate number of beds. "In view of that possibility, the authorities are expected to take criminal action against the hospitals that are not complying with the orders issued by the authorities. We can say that it is only after such stern action that the beds will be made available," Justice Nalawade said in his orders.

The bench further noted that the village officers, such as police patils or panchayats, have failed to give information regarding people from cities entering the villages.

"It appears that proper information regarding persons, who entered the villages without due authorisation and who were found subsequently infected, is not being submitted by the village officers. Necessary action needs to be taken in that regard so that the spread of virus is prevented in rural areas. This court wants to know the steps taken in that regard on the next date," Justice Nalawade ordered.

The judges, while posting the matter for further hearing on till July 21, also ordered the authorities to take strict action against public servants, who aren't performing their duties properly.

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