June 3, 2021 10:12:07 pm
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA) and its 44 members seeking relief from sealing of the premises of their hospitals or clinical establishments by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), owing to absence of fire safety NOC and/or building use (BU) permit.
Following a fire in the ICU of Shrey Hospital in Ahmedabad in August 2020, AMC had issued notices to the 44 doctors, calling upon them to produce valid BU permission and fire NOC, and were given three days’ time to produce the same. In the meantime, the AMC had partially sealed two hospitals and the rest, anticipating similar sealing by AMC, moved court seeking relief. Notably, the 44 clinical establishments did not have a valid BU permit in accordance with the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, which lays down that no person can be allowed to occupy a building minus a valid BU permit. The AMC also pointed out during the course of arguments that provisions of law also stipulate that use of any building other than the use sanctioned by the authority, is not permitted.
It was the case of AMA that of the 110 hospitals of the members of the AMA, “only 26 hospitals did not have a valid Fire NOC…and therefore the hospitals possessing the valid fire NOC should not be sealed only on account of non-availability of valid commercial BU permissions.”
Dismissing the plea, the court observed that each of the petitioners have “absolutely different fact situations” and thus a “common and composite petition filed by the petitioners espousing the cause of other errant persons, having absolutely different fact situations, without precise pleadings with regard to the availability of BU permission and fire NOC cannot be entertained and deserves to be dismissed only on the ground of being vague and not maintainable.”
The court also noted that the petitioners had “miserably failed to produce any valid BU permission of any of the petitioners in respect of their premises”
The court however, on the request of the petitioners whose premises have not yet been sealed, granted them relief of two weeks to make arrangements for the patients admitted in their hospitals, with the division bench of Justices Bela Trivedi and Bhargav Karia directing AMC to not take any coercive action until June 17, whereafter AMC “shall be at liberty to take action thereafter in accordance with law.”
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