By LE Desk

New Delhi, May 7: The Delhi High Court has told the Delhi government that its officials not on COVID duty during the lockdown cannot sit at home doing nothing and some duty or responsibility should be assigned to all of them.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that the Delhi government should use its entire potential or force, including forest officers and clerks, and not just depend upon a few IAS and DANIPS officers to deal with the issues grappling the national capital, news agency PTI reported.

“Instead of just depending on your IAS and DANIPS officers, you need to use your full potential, the force you have. You have forest officers and then at lower levels you have UDCs, LDCs, etc.

“Just because there is a kind of lockdown in place, does not mean these people can sit at home doing nothing. That cannot be. Some of them have to come out. Maybe some of them can work from home. But some duty should be assigned to all of them,” the court said yesterday.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, said that he would convey the court’s suggestions to the government.

The observations and suggestions by the court came after it was told by several lawyers, including the amicus curiae, that the data regarding beds in the Delhi Corona app or website were not accurate as the numbers were not being updated on real time.

Senior advocate and amicus curiae Rajshekhar Rao told the court that when he tried to get the correct numbers over the phone from a hospital, the person attending the call did not have the real time data.

Advocate Aditya Prasad, who has filed a petition on the various COVID related issues plaguing the city, told the bench that as the data on the app and the website are inaccurate, people are left running from hospital to hospital and on arriving there they are told no beds are vacant.

He said that there should be some government official posted at each of these hospitals, mentioned in the app and website, who can communicate the data on a real time basis.

Mr Prasad said that if the Delhi government cannot show real time data on the app or website, then both would serve no purpose and should be taken down.

Taking note of the submissions, the bench said there should be one dedicated person in each hospital to provide real time data about the beds and also attend queries over the phone.

The court also told the Delhi government that when it says something to the government or passes an order or makes an observation, the intention is “to set the ball rolling”.

The bench said it was not an expert, but it wants the experts and officials of the government to apply their minds to the suggestions made by the court.

“That is the idea, that is the spirit. We are not telling you, do this, do that. We want you to do something,” it said.

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