New Delhi: In a directive that will go a long way in preventing loss of life due to delayed medical help, the Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered the state government to ensure that all hospitals, including private hospitals don’t deny treatment to rape and road accident victims.
A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain asked the principal secretary of the health department, Delhi government, to issue directions to all the private and government hospitals in the city to not refuse admission to the victims for immediate treatment.
"We direct principal secretary of health department, government of Delhi, to issue directions to all hospitals including private - recognised or not - to admit the victims of rape and road accidents for immediate first-aid treatment," said the bench.
The court also wanted that the police be given clear instructions to take those injured to the nearest hospital "without any debate" to identify a government hospital that is nearby.
"Why can`t you consider issuing standing instructions to all hospitals to treat victims brought to them without any delay?" the court told the police. "A hospital should not delay treatment on any grounds. If the hospital is a small hospital, at least they should give first aid to the victims before sending them elsewhere," the court said.
The court’s order comes after the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old para-medical student on December 16. The girl and her friend were stripped off and thrown out of the bus.
Later the 28-year-old man told Zee News that the policemen who reached the spot, initially, argued over the jurisdiction of the case, rather than taking them to a hospital. They were driven many kilometers to government-run Safdarjung Hospital, though there were many good private hospitals near where she was found in a bloodied condition.
The JS Verma Committee tasked to look into possible amendments to the criminal law for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for rapists had slammed Delhi`s police, public and the administration for not acting promptly to help the gang-rape victim in its report made public last week.
The panel slammed the police practice of "approaching only a government hospital and not the nearest available hospital" in a medico-legal case.