New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the Principal Secretary (Health) of the AAP government to appear before it after the state failed to indicate the timeframe for filing an audit report of all its hospitals.
The court, which had earlier ordered a third-party audit of all Delhi government hospitals, including Janakpuri Super Speciality and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospitals, took a serious view of the fact that its earlier order has not been complied with.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla noted that the courts September 22 last year order highlighted glaring inadequacies in the healthcare infrastructure vis-a-vis eight public hospitals maintained by the Delhi government which include the two super-specialty hospitals.
This inadequacy includes gross underutilization of the bed capacity to the extent of 10-15 percent of the infrastructure provided, woeful staff strength at any given point of time, both of medical and non-medical staff, and other services,” the bench said.
It noted that till date, the audit report has not been submitted and other actions have not been complied with although there is some progress.
It said that Delhi governments counsel was unable to mention the timeline within which the report would be prepared and the action taken.
The court said that in the light of the “inability of the Government to indicate the timeframe, Principal Secretary (Health), Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi is directed to be present in court on February 28.”
The court’s direction came during the hearing of a PIL filed by advocate Ramesh Chander, complaining that the two super-specialty hospitals built by Delhi government at a cost of over Rs 150 crore were still not ready to take in patients.
It had earlier expressed its anguish over non-functioning of the two super-specialty hospitals ever since they were inaugurated nine years ago.
It had pointed out that thousands of poor people wait for days outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and other government and private hospitals here for treatment.
The PIL filed in December 2014 had highlighted that despite several chances to clearly indicate the number of sanctioned posts of doctors and their appointments, neither the government nor the hospitals have filed their response.
The 650-bed Rajiv Gandhi hospital in Northeast Delhi and 250-bed Janakpuri hospital in West Delhi have been repeatedly touted by successive state governments as an example of enhanced specialised healthcare facilities.
The PIL had alleged that despite these claims, not a single patient had been admitted to the hospitals and urged the court to issue directions.
The Delhi government had initially planned to run them on a public-private partnership model but failed because the private players did not show interest, fearing that the revenue model was not profitable. Later, the government appointed directors at both the hospitals.