In Re The Proper Treatment Of Covid … vs For on 18 December, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

In Re The Proper Treatment Of Covid … vs For on 18 December, 2020

Author: Ashok Bhushan

Bench: M Shah, R S Reddy, A Bhushan

                                                                                         REPORTABLE

                                      IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                       CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                            SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.7 OF 2020

     IN RE: THE PROPER TREATMENT OF COVID 19 PATIENTS AND
     DIGNIFIED HANDLING OF DEAD BODIES IN THE HOSPITALS ETC.

                                                     O R D E R

1. We have heard Shri Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor

General for India and learned counsel appearing for

various States. By our order dated 27.11.2020 passed in

this proceeding we have taken suo motu cognizance of the

incident which happened in Rajkot, Gujarat on 26.11.2020

resulting in death of Covid patients in the Covid

Hospital. The Court has also taken notice of earlier

incidents of fire in Covid Hospitals. Learned Solicitor

General had submitted that immediate steps shall be taken

and the report will be submitted. State of Gujarat was

also directed to submit the report.

2. Affidavits have been filed by Union of India on

30.11.2020 and 11.12.2020. The Union of India in its

affidavit dated 30.11.2020 has brought on record the

letter dated 28.11.2020 issued by Ministry of Home
Signature Not Verified

Affairs,
Digitally signed by
MEENAKSHI KOHLI
Date: 2020.12.18
Government of India. The Government of India
14:49:02 IST
Reason:

issued advisory to all the States to prevent the

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recurrence of fire incident in Covid Hospitals and

Nursing Homes. The Union of India has called for the

status of implementation of guidelines issued in

reference to preventing recurrence of fire accidents in

Hospitals, status of ‘No Objection Certificate’, report

regarding inspection and re-inspection of Hospitals and

Nursing Homes. In pursuance of the orders issued by Union

of India to all the States, status reports were sent to

the Union of India which has been compiled in Affidavit

dated 11.12.2020. Although different States and Union

Territories have taken measures and conducted

inspections, found out shortcomings regarding prevention

of occurrence of fire in the Hospitals and Nursing Homes,

further, audits and inspections are required to be taken.

Few States have also filed their separate affidavits

enumerating their steps taken by them in compliance of

the advisory and requirement for. The Union of India has

directed the States and Union Territories to update their

respective local building bye laws/fire services

synchronising them in line of “Model Bill on maintenance

of fire and emergency service, 2019”, circulated by

Ministry of Home Affairs on 16.09.2019.

3. The State of Gujarat has filed separate affidavit

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bringing on record the directions issued by the State and

the details of inspection undertaken and audit of few

dedicated Covid hospitals. It has further stated that a

nodal officer for fire safety has been appointed in

dedicated covid hospitals (Government and Private

hospitals). We with regard to above, issue following

directions:-

1) All States/Union Territories should appoint one

nodal officer for each covid hospital, if not

already appointed, who shall be made responsible

for ensuring the compliance of all fire safety

measures.

2) In each district, State Government should

constitute a committee to carry fire audit of

each Covid hospital atleast once in a month and

inform the deficiency to the management of the

hospital and report to the Government for taking

follow up action.

3) The Covid hospital who have not obtained NOC from

fire department of the State should be asked to

immediately apply for NOC and after carrying

necessary inspection, decision shall be taken.

Those Covid hospitals who have not renewed their

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NOC should immediately take steps for renewal on

which appropriate inspection be taken and

decision be taken. In event, Covid Hospital is

found not having NOC or not having obtained

renewal, appropriate action be taken by the

State.

4. The State of Gujarat has also brought on record the

notification appointing Justice D.A. Mehta to undertake

enquiry with regard to fire in Shrey Hospital,

Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, in addition to enquiry in to the

incident of fire in Uday Shivanand Hospital, Rajkot. The

State to extend all cooperation to the Enquiry Commission

so that Enquiry report be submitted at early date and the

appropriate remedial action be taken by the State.

5. Due to unprecedented Pandemic, everybody in the world

is suffering, one way or the other. It is a world war

against COVID-19. Therefore, there shall be Government

Public Partnership to avoid world war against COVID-19.

6. Right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed

under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Right to

health includes affordable treatment. Therefore, it is

the duty upon the State to make provisions for affordable

treatment and more and more provisions in the hospitals

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to be run by the State and/or local administration are

made. It cannot be disputed that for whatever reasons

the treatment has become costlier and costlier and it is

not affordable to the common people at all. Even if one

survives from COVID-19, many times financially and

economically he is finished. Therefore, either more and

more provisions are to be made by the State Government

and the local administration or there shall be cap on the

fees charged by the private hospitals, which can be in

exercise of the powers under the Disaster Management Act.

7. Despite the Guidelines and SOPs issued, for lack of

implementation the Pandemic has spread like wild fire. A

strict and stern action should be taken against those who

are violating the Guidelines and SOPs, whoever he may be

and whatever position the violator is occupying.

8. Every State must act vigilantly and to work with the

Centre harmoniously. It is the time to rise to the

occasion. Safety and health of the citizens must be the

first priority, rather than any other considerations.

9. People should understand their duty and follow rules

very strictly. It is the duty of every citizen to

perform their fundamental duties as guaranteed under the

5
Constitution of India. By not following the

Guidelines/SOPs issued by the State from time to time,

such as, not wearing the masks, not keeping social

distances, to participate in the gatherings and the

celebrations without maintaining social distances, they

are ultimately not damaging themselves but they cause

damage to the others also. They cannot be permitted to

play with the lives of the others and they cannot be

permitted to infringe the rights of other citizens, like

right to health guaranteed under Article 21 of the

Constitution of India.

10. There is a need to help and guide our people to

implement the guidelines and the SOPs issued by the

Government, either the Union or the State, such as,

wearing of masks, keeping the social distance etc. In

many States, despite the huge fine recovered, such as,

Rs. 80 to 90 crores in the State of Gujarat alone, people

are not following the guidelines and the SOPs. There

must be a strict implementation by the authorities so as

to ensure that the SOPs and the guidelines issued from

time to time are strictly adhered to and followed by the

people. Additional Chief Secretary (Home)/Secretary

(Home) of respective States shall ensure the strict

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implementation of the SOPs and the guidelines with the

help of the concerned Superintendent of Police/District

Superintendent of Police and the Police In-charge of the

concerned police station.

11. We have already issued various directions with regard

to measures to be taken to contain the Covid-19. We once

again reiterate the State to issue necessary directions

with regard to following measures so as to effectively

monitor and supervise the implementation of various SOPs

and guidelines.

i) More and more police personnel shall be deployed at

the places where there is likelihood of gathering by

the people, such as, Food Courts, Eateries, Vegetable

Markets (Wholesale or Retail), sabzi Mandies, bus

stations, railway stations, street vendors, etc.

ii) As far as possible, unless must, no permission shall

be granted by the local administration or the

Collector/DSP for celebration/gathering even during

the day hours and wherever the permissions are

granted, the local

administration/DSP/Collector/Police In-charge of the

local police station shall ensure the strict

7
compliance of the Guidelines/SOPs. There should be a

mechanism to check the number of people attending

such function/gathering, such as, the particulars

with respect to how many persons are going to attend

the celebration/gathering, timings during which the

celebration/gathering is to take place etc.

iii) There shall be more and more testing and to declare

the correct facts and figures. One must be

transparent in number of testing and declaring the

facts and figures of the persons who are Corona

Positive. Otherwise, the people will be misled and

they will be under impression that everything is all

right and they will become negligent.

iv) Whenever directions are issued under the Disaster

Management Act directing the corporate

hospitals/private hospitals to keep 50% or any other

percentage free municipal beds, it must be strictly

complied with and there shall be constant vigilance

and supervision.

v) There shall be free helpline numbers to redress the

grievances of common man, when there is non-

compliance of the directions by the private

hospitals/corporate hospitals.

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vi) Curfew on weekends/night be considered by States

where it is not in place.

vii) In a micro containment zone or in an area where

number of cases are on higher side, to cut the chain,

they should be sealed and there should be complete

lockdown so far as such areas are concerned. Such

containment areas need to be sealed for few days

except essential services. The same is required to

break the chain of virus spread.

viii) Any decision to impose curfew and/or lockdown must be

announced long in advance so that the people may know

and make provisions for their livelihood, like ration

etc.

ix) Another issue is a fatigue of front row health care

officers, such as, Doctors, Nurses as well as

workers. They are already exhausted physically and

mentally due to tireless work for eight months. Some

mechanism may be required to give them intermittent

rest.

12. One more issue has been raised before us regarding

gathering organised by Political parties. The Political

parties organise different proceedings in connection of

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election as well as in reference to election of different

level including the General Election which are to take

place in few States next year.

13. The Election Commission of India has issued broad

guidelines for conduct of General Elections/Bye-Elections

during Covid-19 in August, 2020. With regard to campaign

of political parties following are the guidelines issued

by Election Commission of India: –

“13. CAMPAIGN BY THE POLITICAL
PARTIES/CONTESTING CANDIDATES

1) Door to Door Campaign: – Subject to any
other restriction(s) including extant
COVID-19 guidelines, a group of 5(five)
persons including candidates, excluding
security personnel, if any, is allowed to
do door to door campaigning.

2) Road Shows: -The Convoy of vehicles should
be broken after every 5(five) vehicles
instead of 10 vehicles (excluding the
security vehicles, if any). The interval
between two sets of convoy of vehicles
should be half an hour instead of gap of
100 meters. (In supersession of Para 5.8.1
of Returning Officer’s Handbook 2019)”

3) Election Meetings: – Public
gatherings/rallies may be conducted
subject to adherence to extant COVID-19
guidelines. District Election Officer
should take following steps for this
purpose.

(a) District Election Officer should,
in advance, identify dedicated

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grounds for public gathering with
clearly marked Entry/Exit points.

(b) In all such identified grounds,
the District Election Officer
should, in advance, put markers to
ensure social distancing norms by
the attendees.

(c) Nodal District Health Officer
should be involved in the process
to ensure that all COVID-19
related guidelines are adhered to
by all concerned in the district.

(d) District Election Officer and
District Superintendent of Police
should ensure that the number of
attendees does not exceed the
limit prescribed by State Disaster
Management Authority for public
gatherings.

(e) DEO should depute Sector Health
Regulators to oversee that COVID-

      19    instructions/guidelines   are
      being    followed    during   these
      meetings.

(f)   The    political    parties     and

candidates concerned should ensure
that all COVID-19 related
requirement like face masks,
sanitizers, thermal scanning etc.
are fulfilled during each of these
activities.

(g) Non-Compliance of Instructions: –

Anybody violating instructions on
COVID-19 measures will be liable
to proceeded against as per the
provisions of Section 51 to 60 of
the Disaster Management Act, 2005,
besides legal action under Section

11
1988 of the IPC, and other legal
provisions as applicable, as
specified in Order No.40-3/2020-
DM-I(A) dated 29th July, 2020 of
Ministry of Home Affairs. District
Election Officer should bring this
to the notice of all concerned.

4) Allocation of public spaces must be done
using Suvidha app in the manner already
prescribed by Commission.”

14. All the States / Union Territories to issue necessary

directions to ensure compliance of aforesaid guidelines

and guidelines although were issued by General

Election/Bye Election, that can be implemented by

different States with suitable modifications with

reference to Elections of other organisations to ensure

safety of people in general from Covid-19.

15. We allow further four weeks’ time to all the States

and Union of India to file affidavit bringing on record

various measures as indicated in this order for

consideration and further directions.

List after four weeks.

………………….J.

( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
………………….J.

( R. SUBHASH REDDY )
………………….J.

( M.R. SHAH )
New Delhi,
December 18, 2020.

                                    12
ITEM NO.1       Court 7 (Video Conferencing)           SECTION PIL-W
[FOR ORDERS]
                 S U P R E M E C O U R T O F     I N D I A
                         RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No(s).7/2020

IN RE THE PROPER TREATMENT OF COVID 19 PATIENTS AND DIGNIFIED
HANDLING OF DEAD BODIES IN THE HOSPITALS ETC.

(IA No. 63664/2020 – APPLICATION FOR EXEMPTION FROM FILING ORIGINAL
VAKALATNAMA/OTHER DOCUMENT
IA No. 54973/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 55794/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 56067/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 90409/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 54881/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 55938/2020 – APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS
IA No. 68811/2020 – CLARIFICATION/DIRECTION
IA No. 54900/2020 – EARLY HEARING APPLICATION
IA No. 55936/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 56420/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 68639/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 56142/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 118651/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 55792/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 56124/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 68519/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 74588/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 90410/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 54885/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 55398/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 55939/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 72559/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 54982/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 72111/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 90398/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 68817/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING AFFIDAVIT
IA No. 92849/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T.
IA No. 74671/2020 – EXEMPTION FROM PAYING COURT FEE
IA No. 74670/2020 – INTERVENTION APPLICATION
IA No. 55790/2020 – INTERVENTION APPLICATION
IA No. 63659/2020 – INTERVENTION APPLICATION
IA No. 54880/2020 – INTERVENTION APPLICATION
IA No. 55937/2020 – INTERVENTION APPLICATION
IA No. 90394/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 77370/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 54971/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 55935/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 68561/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 54897/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 57318/2020 – INTERVENTION/IMPLEADMENT
IA No. 54902/2020 – PERMISSION TO APPEAR AND ARGUE IN PERSON

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IA No. 63660/2020 – PERMISSION TO APPEAR AND ARGUE IN PERSON
IA No. 54978/2020 – PERMISSION TO APPEAR AND ARGUE IN PERSON
IA No. 56419/2020 – PERMISSION TO FILE ADDITIONAL
DOCUMENTS/FACTS/ANNEXURES)

Date : 18-12-2020 This matter was called on for orders today.

CORAM : HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK BHUSHAN
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE R. SUBHASH REDDY
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M.R. SHAH

For Petitioner(s) By Courts Motion

For Respondent(s) Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG
Mr. K.M. Nataraj, ASG
Mr. Shantanu Sharma, Adv.

Mr. Gurmeet Singh Makker AOR
Mr. Rajat Nair, Adv.

Mr. Kanu Agrawal, Adv.

Mr. Prashant Singh B, Adv.

Mr. Raj Bahadur Yadav, Adv.

Mr. Saurabh Mishra, Adv.

Mr. Mohd. Akhil, Adv.

Mr. B. V. Balaram Das, AOR

Arunachal Pradesh Mr. Abhimanyu Tewari, AOR
Ms. Eliza Bar, Adv.

Assam Mr. Nalin Kohli, AAG
Mr. Shuvodeep Roy, Adv.

Mr. Ankit Roy, Adv.

Mr. Rahul Raj Mishra, Adv.

Ms. Nimisha, Adv.

GNCTD Mr. K.V. Vishwanathan, Sr. Adv.

Mr. Chirag M. Shroff, AOR
Ms. Abhilasha Bharti, Adv.

Goa Mr. Arun R. Pedneker, Adv.

Mr. Sachin Patil AOR

Gujarat Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG
Ms. Manisha Lavkumar, Sr. Adv.

Mr. Aniruddha P. Mayee AOR
Ms. Deepanwita Priyanka, Adv.

Ms. Aastha Mehta, Adv.

Haryana Mr. Anish Kumar Gupta, Adv.

Ms. Archana Preeti Gupta, Adv.

Mr. Chandra Shekhar Suman, Adv.

Mr. Puneet Sheoran, Adv.

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Ms. Rita Gupta, Adv.

Ms. Deepshikha Bharati, Adv.,

Haryana Dr. Monika Gusain, AOR

H.P. Mr. Himanshu Tyagi, AOR

Jharkhand Mr. Kumar Anurag Singh, Addl. Standing Counsel
Mr. Saurabh Jain, Adv.

Mr. Anando Mukherjee, Adv.

J&K Mr. G.M. Kawoosa, Adv.

Ms. Manjula Gupta, Adv.

Kerala Ms. Priyanka Prakash, Adv.

Ms. Beena Prakash, Adv.

Mr. G. Prakash, Adv.

Manipur Mr. Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, Adv.

Ms. Anupama Ngangom, Adv.

Mr. Karun Sharma, Adv.

Maharashtra Mr. Rahul Chitnis ADV.

Mr. Sachin Patil, AOR
Mr. Geo Joseph, Adv.

Meghalaya Mr. Amit Kumar, Adv.

Mr. Avijit Mani Tripathi, Adv.

Mr. T.K. Nayak, Adv.

Mr. Abhikalp, Adv.

Mizoram Mr. Siddhesh Kotwal, Adv.

Mr. Divyansh Tiwari, Adv.

Ms. Ana Upadhyay, Adv.

Nagaland Mrs. K. Enatoli Sema, Adv
Mr. Amit Kumar Singh, Adv.

Punjab Mr. Atul Nanda, AG
Ms. Uttara Babbar, Adv.

Ms. Bhavana Duhoon, Adv.

Mr. Manan Bansal, Adv.

Rajasthan Dr. Manish Singhvi, Sr. Advocate
Mr. Sandeep Kumar Jha Advocate

T.N. Mr. Jayanth Muthuraj, Sr. Adv.

Mr. M.Yogeshkanna AOR
Mr. Rajarajeshwaran, Adv.

Mr. Aditya Chadha, Adv.

Telangana Mr. S. Udaya Kumar Sagar, Adv.

Ms. Swati Bhardwaj, Adv.

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Tripura Mr. Shuvodeep Roy, Adv.

Mr. Rahul Raj Mishra, Adv.

WB Mr. Suhaan Mukerji, Adv.

Ms. Liz Mathew, Adv.

Mr. Vishal Prasad, Adv.

Mr. Nikhil Parikshith, Adv.

Mr. Sayandeep Pahari, Adv.

For M/S. PLR Chambers And Co.

U.P. Ms. Garima Prashad, Adv.

Mr. Nagender Singh, Adv.

Sikkim Mr. Raghvendra Kumar, Adv.

Mr. Anand Kumar Dubey, Adv.

Mr. Narendra Kumar, AOR

Karnataka Mr. Shubhranshu Padhi, AOR
Mr. Ashish Yadav, Adv.

Mr. Rakshit Jain, Adv.

Mr. Vishal Bansal, Adv.

Odisha Mr. Shibashish Misra, Adv.

UTs

A & N Mr. K.V. Jagdishvaran, Adv.

Ms. G. Indira, AOR

Puducherry Mr. V.G. Pragasam, Adv.

Mr. S. Prabu Ramasubramanian, Adv.

Mr. Awanish Sinha, AOR
Mr. S.K. Mohanty, Adv.

Ms. Sweta Rani, Adv.

Ms. Gitanshi Arora, Adv.

I.A. 90394/20 Mr. Pawan Shree Agrawal, Adv.
& 90409/20 Ms. Abhipsa Anamika, Adv.

Applicant in person

Municipal Corporation Mr. Ashish Wad, Adv.
Of Greater Mumbai Ms. Tamali Wad, Adv.

Mr. Sidharth Mahajan, Adv.

Ms. Sukriti Jaggi, Adv.

Mr. Ajeyo Sharma, Adv.

M/S. J S Wad And Co.

Intervenor Mr. Subhash Chandran, Adv.

Mr. Biju P Raman, AOR

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55937&55938 Mr. M. Shoeb Alam, Adv.

                       Mr. Talha Abdul Rahman, AOR

55935                  Dr. Ishwar Gilada, Adv.
                       Mr. Rohit Rathi, AOR

54897/20               Mr. Shashank Deo Sudhi, Adv.

Mr. Mukesh Kumar, Applicant in person

Ms. Aparna Bhat, AOR
Ms. Karishma Maria, Adv.

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following

O R D E R

Four weeks’ time is granted to all the States and Union of

India to file affidavit to bring on record various measures as

indicated in the signed reportable order for consideration and

further directions.

(MEENAKSHI KOHLI) (RENU KAPOOR)
ASTT. REGISTRAR-cum-PS BRANCH OFFICER
[Signed reportable order is placed on the file]

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