“It is a complete failure of the state”, the Delhi High Court said on Friday as a group of lawyers, including Bar Council of Delhi chairman Ramesh Gupta, pleaded for help seeking medical facilities to advocates suffering from COVID-19.
The hearing witnessed breakdown of lawyers, including senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who urged the judges to come to their rescue and help them as they were not getting medical treatment.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said they understood the pain which lawyers were undergoing and termed the situation as a failure of the state.
“We understand your pain. We are going through the same. This surge of COVID has such a huge number…nobody could have imagined that this will attack us in this way… Finances are not the issue here. The problem is infrastructure.
“The problem is we don’t have doctors, nurses, attendants, oxygen and medicines. It is a complete failure of the state,” the bench said, adding that, “its getting tougher for us”.
The court was hearing a petition seeking medical facilities for lawyers.
Mr Gupta, representing the petitioner lawyer, submitted that a private hospital has agreed to give medical treatment to lawyers but it only has oxygen beds and not ICU beds and urged the court to attach them with a hospital which can provide them critical care in case of need.
He said they do not want money, they only want that in case of any emergency, medical help be provided to lawyers and they will collect more funds from their fellow advocates.
Mr Gupta, who broke down while addressing the court, said, “We want my lords to come to our rescue. We do not want to criticise anyone or any government. We have Rs 4-5 crore in our funds and will arrange more from lawyers. We only want my lords to help us. Sir kuch karo aap (Sir please do something).”
During the hearing, Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi also became emotional while informing the court about a lawyer friend’s demise due to COVID-19 and said “daily we are losing our dear ones”.
Mr Gupta also submitted that there is a hospital in Dwarka in the name of Indira Gandhi which is under construction for last 8 years and is near completion and urged the court to arrange for 100 oxygen beds for lawyers there.
Meanwhile, an official of an oxygen refiller unit told the court that they were regularly giving their accounts to the Delhi government and were doing their best.
The court asked them to continue doing that and serve the society in these tough times.
“It is a war, as a society and community, we cannot let people suffer because of other’s greed who are indulging in black marketing. This creates artificial scarcity. People in desperation have to buy oxygen cylinders and medicines in black. That money is of no use. We have to bring out best and not our worst at this time. This is not the time to indulge in black marketing, certainly not,” the bench observed.
The refiller unit’s officer assured the court that they were helping in every possible manner and Delhi government officers were managing the work at their plant and Delhi police officials were managing the crowd there.