AAP decries ‘ugly politics’ after High Court approves of audit
A plea filed the All India Lawyer’s Union last Thursday alleged that the Delhi government’s data about the number of persons suffering from and dying of the deadly pathogen was incorrect, and had asked for its audit committee, which certifies all Covid-related deaths, to be scrapped.Updated: May 25, 2020 00:24 IST
New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in “ugly politics” during a health crisis, pointing to an order by the Delhi high court that refused to scrap the state government’s Death Audit Committee and said it was following guidelines “in full letter and spirit”.
A plea filed the All India Lawyer’s Union last Thursday alleged that the Delhi government’s data about the number of persons suffering from and dying of the deadly pathogen was incorrect, and had asked for its audit committee, which certifies all Covid-related deaths, to be scrapped.
On Friday, a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and justice Prateek Jalan, while refusing to issue any direction against the committee, said the whole case of the petitioner was “based upon presumptions and surmises as the same has been filed on the basis of some newspaper reports without any proper research” and “there is no doubt that members of the committee are experts in their subject and field”.
In its four-page judgment, uploaded on the website on Saturday, the court said, “……It further appears that on the basis of the guidelines issued by the Central government, the data is being collected from the hospitals in a proper format. It also appears that the respondents [Delhi government] have constituted a Death Audit Committee on April 20, 2020, for auditing the data in question received from different hospitals in Delhi and thereafter publish the same…There is no doubt that the members of the committee are experts in their subject and field. There seems to be no arbitrariness or discrimination being done nor is there is any material to show false fabrication of data in question being published by the respondents.”
Reacting to the judgment, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday tweeted, “I am glad that honourable Delhi High Court has put an end to ugly politics being played by some opposition leaders on such a sensitive issue. Delhi govt is providing correct figures related to Corona every day to the people.”
AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “After high court order declaring Delhi government’s Covid death figures correct, BJP should apologise for playing politics over the dead. The Delhi high court has noted that the Death Audit Committee is a competent authority comprising of experts. It rejected the plea seeking its scrapping. The High Court finds no arbitrariness or discrimination, no false fabrication of data. The BJP chose to do dirty politics even in the time of such massive health and humanitarian crisis.”
The BJP, which is the ruling party in all the three municipal corporations in Delhi, said the death figures quoted by its leaders are based on information available with the civic agencies.
Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, said: “The BJP didn’t go to the Delhi high court in this regard and we don’t know what facts were placed before the court in this matter. We are not doing politics. We have just stated the facts based on the information provided by the three municipal corporations. If the Delhi government thinks that the information provided by the municipal corporation is wrong, then they are free to take action against the corporations.”
He added that the death figures was cited by the government’s own doctors. “The Delhi government should come out with datewise and hospital-wise data about Covid-19 deaths. This will put the matter to rest. People of Delhi have the right to know the truth.”
While BJP leaders said they respect the Delhi high court order, they stood by the claims made by the corporations.
Jai Prakash, the standing committee chairman, North Delhi Municipal Corporation said the “figures we have stated are based on the information collected by our officials from the cemeteries and cremation grounds” and that there have been 350 cremations and burial as per Covid-19 protocols in the region, “of which close to 272 were confirmed cases”.
Bhupinder Gupta, chairman of South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s standing committee, said: “Our figures are based on the reports provided by the hospitals. We have had 381 dead bodies cremated or buried in our facilities. If we go by the Delhi government data, are the doctors at the hospital lying?”