New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked state government and the police to ensure within a week proper "publicity" to their orders that all hospitals, including private ones, cannot deny treatment to survivors of criminal offences, especially rape and road accidents. In pursuance of the High Court order, the Delhi government and the city police had issued separate directions that the survivors of criminal offences have to be taken to a nearby government or private hospitals which cannot turn them away.
"Pursuant to our earlier order, the Government of National Capital Territory Delhi (through Principal Secretary, health department) has issued directions on the issue on February 21.
"And, referring to the said order, the Commissioner of Police also issued directions to all police officials including ACPs to take to the survivors to a nearby hospital irrespective of fact whether the hospital is government or private hospital," a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain said. Considering the directions of the government and police, the court asked them to "ensure publicity of their orders within a week" to create public awareness that survivors have the right to be taken to a nearby hospital.
The publicity will also make hospitals aware that they are under an obligation to provide treatment to survivors, it said. The court, which had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of the December 16 incident of gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus here, also asked the government to prepare within three weeks the "area-wise list" of Delhi hospitals.
The list be provided to cops manning PCR vans so that they know the place where survivors have to be taken, it said, adding that it is up to the city and Union governments to devise "rules or mechanism" for reimbursing the expenses incurred on the treatment. The court, which has now posted the matter for further hearing on March 21, meanwhile, asked the Centre to keep it posted about the actions taken on suggestions made by Justice Usha Mehra Commission.
The Commission, constituted in the wake of the gangrape incident here, blamed Delhi police for poor coordination which allowed the bus on which she was attacked to remain on road months after it failed to get important clearances. Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra assured the court that it would be apprised of developments on the issue. Earlier, the court had asked the city government to issue a direction to all hospitals in the capital not to deny treatment to survivors of criminal offences.
The paramedical student was raped and brutally assaulted before being thrown out of the moving vehicle along with her male friend. She later succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29. Earlier, Delhi Police had tendered an unconditional apology to the High Court after it drew flak for not naming all the officials patrolling the area in which the girl was gangraped and brutally assaulted in January. After the apology, the court had accepted the fresh status report filed by the police.