The Delhi High Court Thursday pulled up the Delhi Government for “inaction and lethargy” in making operational a COVID care centre at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus even though space has been earmarked for it. Justice Rekha Palli said that it is the inaction on the part of Delhi government which has led to the centre not being operational till date and the court was unable to appreciate the inaction and lethargy on the part of the authorities.
“Despite repeated orders passed by this court, it appears that the direction for setting up a COVID centre in JNU campus have not been followed in true letter and spirit. While the respondent no. 1 (JNU) had already earmarked a space inside the Sabarmati dormitory for setting up the centre, it is the inaction on the part of Delhi government which has led to the centre not being operational till date,” the court said.
The court granted time to the counsel for Delhi government to get instructions as to why the directions passed by the court are not implemented and listed the matter for further hearing on January 19. The court was hearing a plea by JNU Teachers' Association and others for providing infrastructure and medical staff for a proposed COVID care centre at the varsity’s campus.
The counsel for the petitioners had earlier said that though the university administration has earmarked space in the Sabarmati Dormitory for setting up a COVID centre, doctors and requisite infrastructure are not available. On May 13, 2021, the court had directed that a COVID care centre be set up at JNU for immediate isolation of residents testing positive for coronavirus as the number of infections on the campus was "quite high".
The court had issued the order after it was told that a COVID Task Force and a COVID Response Team were already working inside the campus. On May 28, 2021, the JNU administration had told the court that a site for setting up the COVID centre had been identified and communicated to the concerned sub-divisional magistrate as well as the Delhi government. It had said that the Delhi government had to provide doctors, nursing staff and the required infrastructure to run the facility.
In response, the city government had said that its health department was looking into the matter. In its petition filed during the second wave of the pandemic, JNU Teachers Association, JNU Students Association and two faculty members had claimed that the university administration did not respond to their repeated requests for setting up a COVID care facility.
With PTI Inputs