Updated: June 12, 2021 9:30:40 am
THE SUPREME Court on Friday directed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) not to take any coercive action for now against hospitals and nursing homes which do not have the requisite permits, taking note of submissions that no public interest will be served in doing so in the midst of a pandemic as it can lead to a sudden shortage of beds.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian directed that buildings without NOCs and other clearances may be allowed to be used only as an interim measure after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the court to give them more time to comply with the regulations.
Hearing appeals against the Gujarat High Court order allowing the AMC to go ahead with action against hospitals which did not have the requisite clearances, the bench initially said it cannot allow such institutions to run without occupancy certificates.
Appearing for an appellant, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh urged the court to take into consideration those who are admitted in these hospitals and to take a compassionate view. Justice Ramasubramanian said he hoped that hospitals which are now seeking the court’s mercy show similar mercy to the patients.
The SG said law has to be complied with, but at this stage it will be hazardous to give up so many hospital beds. The bench will hear the matter after eight weeks. Something can be worked out in the meanwhile, he added.
Justice Gupta said different yardsticks can be applied to smaller institutions, but the court cannot allow nursing homes and hospitals to operate without occupancy certificates.
Something has to be worked out so that public interest and patient rights are not compromised, said SG Mehta. To a specific query from the bench, he replied that at least one month will be needed for this. Justice Gupta said that patients dying due to fire in hospitals is atrocious.
Mehta said some nursing homes may be occupying only one floor in a multi-storey building but then the building is seen as a whole. “Then the nursing home should move out. You cannot be in a building which does not have verification,” said the bench.
The SG then sought to assure that something will be worked out to ensure that the law is complied with and also there is no harm to the people.
The bench will hear the matter next after eight weeks.
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