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HC quashes AAP govt circular extending preferential treatment to Delhiites at GTB Hospital

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The proposal to give preference to residents of Delhi at the GTB Hospital in east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden was approved in August by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

 

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the Aam Aadmi Party government’s circular on giving preferential treatment to Delhi residents over non-residents at the GTB Hospital here.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao had earlier reserved its verdict on the PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist challenging the Delhi government’s pilot project.

The court was examining whether the AAP government’s project at the GTB Hospital to give preferential treatment to city residents was violating the rights to equality and life enjoyed by others under the Constitution.

The bench had earlier said that it has noted the AAP government’s “difficulties” related to infrastructure, staff and facilities and had said that it will consider if these are valid grounds to deny others their rights under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

At the previous hearing, the Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra had told the court that no individual has so far filed a complaint against its October 1 circular initiating the pilot project at the hospital.

Mehra had said that no one was being denied treatment, access to tests or outpatient (OPD) facilities and the hospital was only prioritising whom to treat first.

He had also said that the Delhi government took this policy decision as the huge influx of patients was putting a lot of strain on its infrastructure and staff, and it was also leading to manhandling of doctors by patients or their attendants.

The bench, however, was unimpressed by the contention and had asked, “Who is responsible for this? The courts? Or is it mismanagement? If you cannot manage then stop the facilities.”

The bench had said that the government ought to have evaluated the shortcomings and taken steps to rectify them, instead of taking away the rights of others by changing the manner in which they are provided treatment.

The NGO, in its plea filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, had opposed the pilot project initiated by the Delhi government at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.

It had challenged the October 1 circular issued by the government, claiming that it denies treatment to non-residents at the GTB Hospital.

Agarwal argued before the court 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 the issuance of the circular.

The NGO, in its plea, had said that the hospital cannot discriminate against patients based on their regional identity and added that such discrimination was not seen anywhere else in the country.

The proposal to give preference to 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 get preference at registration counters, in-patient department, tests and medicine counter service and identification is done on the basis of voter identity card.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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