Delhi High Court on Friday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) claiming Delhi government was deliberately underplaying the extent of COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a committee which screens reports from hospitals treating the virus.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of the petition but granted liberty to petitioner to approach the court again at "the appropriate time".
The PIL, filed by All India Lawyer's Union through advocate Fidel Sebastian, had sought directions to Delhi government to publish the data relating to confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths occurring on account of the same through a daily bulletin every 24 hours, based on the figures being provided to the government by the various hospitals, both public and private.
The petition had sought the immediate intervention of the High Court stating that the Delhi government was deliberately underplaying the extent of the pandemic resulting from the COVID virus by, amongst other things, establishing a committee which screens reports from hospitals that are treating people stricken with COVID-19.
Seeking directions to scrap the Death Audit Committee, the plea said that as the figures of new COVID-19 cases and death toll are being given by responsible medical officers of the respective hospitals, there is no relevance of the committee.
"It has been extensively reported by the print and electronic media as well as representatives of the people and civil society at large that there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Government of Delhi to downplay the seriousness of the spread of the disease and the number of deaths caused by the virus in the city," the plea said.
"As per the Government of Delhi, the figure of COVID-19 patients as on May 17, 2020, are 9,755 with deaths at 148. However, the figures of death released by the respondents do not even come near the figures released by two among the several major hospitals who are admitting and treating COVID-19 patients," it added.
The plea said that it is immoral on the part of Delhi government to conceal from its citizens the actual figures of the spread of the virus and the death toll and added that the citizens have a right to know the correct facts and to take their own decisions on the issues.
( With inputs from ANI )