The Delhi High Court today quashed the Aam Admi Party government’s circular on giving preferential treatment to the residents of Delhi over non-residents at the GTB Hospital.
An NGO called Social Jurist had filed a PIL challenging the AAP government’s pilot project. The NGO in its plea said that the hospital cannot discriminate against patients based on their regional identity and added that such discrimination was not seen anywhere else in the country.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao was examining whether the AAP government’s project at the GTB Hospital to give preferential treatment to city residents was violating the rights to equality and life enjoyed by others under the Constitution. The bench was unimpressed by the contention of Delhi government that the huge influx of patients was putting a lot of strain on its infrastructure and staff, and it was also leading to manhandling of doctors by patients or their attendants. The HC bench reportedly asked, “Who is responsible for this? The courts? Or is it mismanagement? If you cannot manage then stop the facilities.”
The Delhi government launched its pilot project of reserving 80 per cent beds for the residents of Delhi at Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) hospital on October 1. According to the circular, out of the 17 registration counters, 13 were to be meant for the residents of Delhi, while four for people from outside Delhi. The identification of the residents of Delhi was to be done on the basis of voter identity card. Minors would have to present the voter identity cards of their parent. In the IPD (inpatient department), 80 per cent of beds would be for the residents of Delhi, while 20 per cent would be for the patients from outside Delhi. The circular had also stated that free medicines will only be available to the residents of Delhi.