The Gujarat High Court on Friday ordered a stay on coercive actions against Rajasthan Hospital in Ahmedabad on Friday, after the latter challenged the order by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, which had imposed a fine of Rs 77 lakh.
The penalty was imposed on the hospital by the urban local body in June-end after a delay in admitting a Covid-19 patient resulted in his death leading the court to make strong observations against the mismanagement. The patient was initially admitted to Lifecare Hospital but was arranged to be transferred to Rajasthan Hospital after it was adjudged that the patient required ventilator support. However, Rajasthan Hospital had allegedly kept the patient waiting for over 30 minutes, leading to his death. An FIR was also registered on behalf of the AMC against the board of management members and trustees of the hospital.
According to a source, the public prosecutor also submitted before the court that CCTV footage from the hospital showed that the patient was kept waiting for 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes as is being claimed by the deceased’s family members. However, the court sought an explanation as to why the patient was made to wait for even 15 minutes, given that the hospital authorities were notified in advance of the transfer of the patient.
The division bench which was hearing the matter also issued notice to AMC, Lifeline Hospital and the state government, returnable in six weeks. The matter was taken up with a bunch of litigation related to issues surrounding Covid-19 in Gujarat.
In an affidavit filed by Bhavin Solanki, medical officer of health of AMC, on September 2, it was submitted that the hospital has “sent an amount of Rs 25 lakh under protest, while denying the liability as regards the payment of penalty to trustees.”
The division bench of Gujarat HC disposed of a PIL moved by an NGO, Surat Citizens Council Trust, which had pointed out several practical difficulties faced in Surat, including insufficient body vans, delayed administering of life-saving drugs such as dexamethasone, Tocilizumab etc , instances where cashless mediclaim policies are not honoured by hospitals, etc. The disposal came after the petitioners submitted that they are satisfied with the present condition in Surat. It was also submitted that overall situation appears to have improved, especially with the basic issues of drug availability and health infrastructure.
The division bench quashed and set aside a notification issued by Kutch district collector’s office, which barred observing Muharram at imamabaras in the district.
A Kutch-based committee – Akhil Katchh Moharam and Tajiya Committee – represented by advocate Aman A Shaikh, had moved the HC earlier. The court clarified that gatherings of not more than 20 persons are permissible, as per standard operating protocol of safety.
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