The AAP government on Thursday assured the Delhi High Court that no patient would be denied treatment at the government-run GTB Hospital, where it has started a pilot project under which residents of the national capital are to be given preference over others.
The Delhi government informed a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao that emergency, outpatient and testing facilities were not being denied to anyone as was being claimed in a PIL filed in the court.
The submission was made by the government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra who pleaded before the court not to pass interim directions, and take up the matter on October 8.
The bench, however, asked “why not keep it (project) in abeyance till Monday (October 8)?”
In response, Mehra said things were being shown to the court “in a coloured manner” and sought time till October 8 to place the facts on record.
Earlier in the day, the court had expressed disapproval regarding the project and indicated that it was inclined to put it on hold.
The bench, however, gave the government time till afternoon to decide whether it intended to go ahead with the project.
Towards the evening, when the court said it will hear the matter tomorrow, Mehra sought time till October 8 and said no one will be denied treatment at the hospital till then.
The court was hearing the plea moved by NGO Social Jurist, through advocate Ashok Agarwal, opposing the pilot project initiated by the Delhi government at Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital here.
The NGO has challenged the October 1 circular issued by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government allegedly denying treatment to non-Delhi resident patients at the GTB Hospital at Dilshad Garden here.
Agarwal claimed that thousands of patients coming from outside Delhi and those not possessing a voter ID card of Delhi were being denied treatment at the hospital subsequent to issuance of the circular.
The NGO, in its plea, has said the hospital cannot discriminate against patients based on their regional identity and added that such discrimination was not there anywhere else in the country.
The proposal to give preference to the residents of Delhi at the GTB Hospital in east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden was approved in August by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Under the pilot project, residents of Delhi would get preference at the registration counters, in-patient department (IPD), tests and medicine counter service.
“The identification of the residents of Delhi would be done on the basis of voter identity card and free medicine would be available only to the residents of Delhi with valid voter card.
“Big tests will be available to only the residents of Delhi. However, simple tests like blood test, X-ray etc would be free for both residents of Delhi and patients from outside Delhi,” the government had said when it announced the project.