Millennium Post

SC refuses to stay HC order against preference given to city residents at GTB Hospital

SC refuses to stay HC order against preference given to city residents at GTB Hospital

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the Delhi High Court order quashing an AAP government circular giving preferential treatment to the residents of the national capital at a city hospital. A bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks as the counsel for the Delhi government sought some time.

The government counsel also sought a stay on the Delhi High Court's October 12 verdict till the appeal was disposed off. "What stay? People are suffering from various illnesses," the bench said.

On October 12, the high court had quashed a circular of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government giving preferential treatment to the city residents at the GTB Hospital here as a pilot project, saying it had led to the creation of a "class within a class" of identically placed citizens, which was "impermissible".

It had also rejected the Delhi government's defence that the decision was taken due to lack of facilities, saying the State "cannot avoid or shirk away" from its constitutional obligations on account of financial constraints or lack of infrastructure and manpower.

The high court had said the "State is obliged and mandated to provide all such facilities as are to be provided to a citizen, particularly, the requirement envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution and the reasons given before us cannot be substantial or reasonable reasons for shirking away from discharging this constitutional liability".

The court did not approve of the AAP government's decision to classify patients as Delhi residents and non-residents based on their voter ID cards, saying such classification "was based on no reasonable justification".

The decision had come while allowing a PIL by NGO Social Jurist, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, challenging the October 1 circular issued by the Delhi government regarding the commencement of the pilot project at the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital in Dilshad Garden.

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