Updated: August 31, 2020 9:42:22 am
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently struck down an order passed by the administration in Jalna to shut down a hospital and said notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, a hospital cannot be closed without following the due process of law.
A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Shrikant D Kulkarni on August 27 heard a writ plea by Dr Ritesh Omprakash Agrawal challenging the action against his hospital. The bench struck down an order issued by the district administration on August 21 that cancelled the registration of Agrawal’s Arogyam Hospital in Jalna. The HC observed that no notice was issued to the doctor before issuing the order.
“Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, a hospital cannot be shut down without following the due process of law. If a particular procedure is prescribed for initiating appropriate steps with regard to complaints against a hospital, such procedure has to be necessarily followed and a drastic order of closure of the hospital cannot be passed on the pretext of Covid-19 pandemic,” the bench said.
Government Pleader D R Kale opposed the plea and said several complaints of malpractices in the hospital were received and while Covid-19 was spreading in the region, there was a public uproar about mismanagement at the petitioner’s hospital. “It was in these peculiar circumstances that a show-cause notice of hearing before issuing the order of closure could not be given,” Kale said.
After hearing submissions, HC referred to its December 2018 order in a similar case and noted that as per Bombay Nursing Homes Registration Act, 1949, a notice is required to be issued before cancelling the registration of a hospital and refused to accept reasons given by the government. The court said cancellation without hearing the petitioner was “not as per law”.
The court directed the August 21 order be treated as a show-cause notice and said a competent authority as per law shall pass a fresh order on complaints received against the hospital by September 19 and the hospital is required to be given the opportunity of being heard.
On the submissions made by the government pleader in view of serious complaints against the petitioner, the bench restrained the Arogyam Hospital, that had 10 patients admitted for treatment, from admitting any new patients till the fresh order is passed by a competent authority and disposed of the plea.
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