New Delhi, July 19.
The Supreme Court said on Monday that hospitals have become like huge real estate industries, rather than serving humanity in the face of the COVID-19 tragedy, and are running these “ retirement homes ” of 2-3 bedroom apartments in residential colonies. that pay little attention to fires and construction safety standards should be closed.
The Supreme Court also appealed to the Gujarat government to extend the July deadline for hospitals to correct violations of domestic laws, and said the carte blanche notice contradicted its ruling of December 18 last year and people would continue to die in as a result of fires.
“These hospitals have become a huge real estate industry instead of serving the cause of humanity in the face of human tragedy.
“You (the Gujarat government) are extending the deadline, which cannot be done in connection with our decree of December 18 last year. Hospitals are designed to help patients in distress, but instead they become machines for minting money, ”said Judges D.Yu. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah.
During this tragedy, hospitals turned into a huge industry, and “this kind of nursing homes, located in two or three-room apartments in the colony, should not be allowed to work,” they added.
“It would be better if these hospitals were closed and the state would provide the necessary infrastructure. We cannot let these hospitals and nursing homes continue to operate. It is a human tragedy that is taking place, ”said the dock, referring to the fire in Nashik, Maharashtra state, where several nurses and patients were killed last year.
The higher court indicated that the Gujarat government would have to withdraw the notice, stating that it appeared to be in breach of its last year’s order, and demanded an explanation for issuing the notice within a week.
It said that after the order was issued by a higher court, “it cannot be overridden by an executive order and now you (the Gujarat government) have provided carte blanche, which says hospitals are not required to comply with remediation rules until July. , 2022 ”, and until then people will die and burn themselves.
He also disagreed with the report filed in a sealed cover by the Hospital Fire Safety Commission, stating that “this is not a nuclear secret, but just a report. Why in a sealed lid. “
He asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to investigate the notification and discuss it with the Gujarat authorities, and also asked the state to submit a comprehensive statement explaining the notification and details of the fire safety inspections that were carried out in accordance with the ruling of the last highest court. year.
The higher court listed the suo motu case on the proper treatment of COVID patients after two weeks.
On December 18 last year, a higher court ordered all states to set up a committee in each district to conduct fire checks on hospitals with COVID-19 at least once a month, inform healthcare management of any deficiencies, and report to the government. for follow-up action.
It said that Covid-19 hospitals that have not received a no-objection certificate from the relevant fire department should be asked to apply for a NOC immediately, and a decision should be made in this regard after the necessary verification has been carried out.
“Those Covid hospitals that have not updated their NOC should immediately take steps to update, which will be reviewed and decided upon. If a Covid hospital is found without a NOC or without an update, the state should take appropriate measures, ”the statement said.
A higher court ruled that all states and union territories should appoint one nodal officer for each Covid hospital, if not already appointed, who will be responsible for ensuring that all fire safety measures are followed.
Last year, a higher court considered a fire incident at a Covid hospital in Gujarat, Rajkot, which resulted in the death of five patients.
He also took note of similar incidents that had occurred earlier in other Covid hospitals.
He noted that the Gujarat government had appointed Judge D.A. Mehtu commission to investigate the fire at Shrei Hospital, Navrangpur, Ahmedabad, in addition to investigating the fire incident at Uday Sivanand Hospital, Rajkot.
It said that the state will expand all opportunities for cooperation with the commission of inquiry, so that the report on the investigation is submitted as early as possible, and the state takes appropriate corrective action.
The higher court noted that the Center also instructed the states and UT to update their respective local building / fire services laws, synchronizing them with the 2019 Model Fire and Emergency Service Maintenance Bill circulated by the Ministry. Ministry of Internal Affairs on September 16 last year.
The Rajkot fire problem arose in a higher court, which tried suo motu’s case on the proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and the dignified treatment of bodies in hospitals. PTI