On Monday, the Supreme Court said that hospitals have become huge real estate industries instead of serving humanity in the face of the COVID-19 tragedy while running ‘nursing homes’ ranging from 2-3 bedroom apartments In residential neighborhoods that pay little attention to fire and construction, safety regulations must be closed.
The high court also detained the Gujarat government for extending the deadline until July next year for hospitals to rectify violations of the building’s statutes, and said the “carte blanche” notice complied with its order of December 18, 2018. last year and that people will. they continue to die in fire incidents.
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) have extended the deadline, which cannot be done in view of our order of December 18 last year. Hospitals are meant to provide relief to patients in distress, but instead become in money-minting machines, “said a bank of Judges DY Chandrachud and MR Shah.
Hospitals have become big industries at the time of this tragedy and these types of nursing homes, ranging from two or three-room flats in a residential neighborhood, should not be able to function, “he added.
It is better that these hospitals are closed and that the state provides the necessary infrastructure. We cannot allow these hospitals and nursing homes to continue operating. This is an ongoing human tragedy, the bank said, referring to a fire incident in Nashik, Maharashtra, where some nurses and patients died last year.
The high court indicated that the Gujarat government will have to withdraw the notice, saying it appears to be in the teeth of its order from last year and asked for an explanation on issuing the notice within a week.
He said that once the higher court has issued an order, “it cannot be overturned by an executive order and now you (the Gujarat government) have issued a carte blanche saying that hospitals do not have to adhere to rectify violations until July. , 2022 “, and people will continue to die and burn until then.
He also made an exception to the report presented in a cover sealed by a commission on the issue of fire safety in hospitals, saying that it is not a nuclear secret, but only a report. Why in a sealed lid.
He asked Attorney General Tushar Mehta to investigate the issue of the notification and discuss it with the Gujarat authorities and asked the state to submit a full statement explaining the notification and details of the fire safety audits that were carried out from pursuant to the latest order of the higher court. year.
The superior court listed the suo motu case on proper treatment of COVID patients after two weeks.
On December 18 of last year, the superior court ordered all states to form a committee in each district to conduct fire audits of COVID-19 hospitals at least once a month, inform the management of medical establishments about any deficiencies and report to the government. for taking follow-up action.
He had said that COVID-19 hospitals, which have not obtained a certificate of no objection from the fire department in question, should be asked to immediately apply for NOC and, after conducting the necessary inspection, a decision will be made on the matter.
Those COVID hospitals that have not renewed their NOC should immediately take the necessary steps for the renewal, in which the proper inspection is performed and decisions are made. In the event that the COVID hospital is found to have no NOC or failed to obtain renewal, the state must take appropriate action, it had said.
The higher court had ordered that all states and territories of the Union should appoint a nodal officer for each COVID hospital, if not already designated, who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with all fire safety measures.
Last year, the high court had learned of the incident of the fire in a COVID hospital in Rajkot of Gujarat, in which five patients had died.
It also took note of similar incidents that had previously occurred at other COVID hospitals.
It has noted that the Gujarat government has appointed a commission headed to Judge DA Mehta to carry out an investigation regarding the fire at Shrey Hospital, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, in addition to the investigation into the incident of the fire at Uday Hospital. Shivanand, Rajkot.
He had said that the state would extend all cooperation to the commission of inquiry so that the investigation report is submitted at an early date and the state takes appropriate corrective action.
The superior court noted that the Center has also directed the states and UT to update their respective local fire ordinance / service laws, synchronizing them in accordance with the Draft Model Law on Maintenance of Fire and Emergency Services, 2019 ‘, distributed by the Ministry of Home Affairs on September 16 of last year.
The subject of the Rajkot fire incident had come up in the high court which was hearing a suo motu case on the proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and the dignified handling of bodies in hospitals.