New Delhi: A hospital in Gurgaon, through its two directors (doctors), have been held guilty of Contempt by the Supreme Court for giving asylum to an accused for a long period of 527 days without there being any reason or medical condition justifying his prolonged admission as an indoor patient.
The case is that of Sita Ram vs. Balbi, where the accused took admission in a private hospital in Gurgaon. The medical certificate issued by the private hospital dated 07.02.2015 read,
Certified that Mr. Balbir Singh is admitted in ***** Hospital since 11.04.2014 with diagnosis of
- An o/c of Ischaemic Heart Disease With Angioplasty done twice in past
- With hypertension
- With COPD and Acute Examination
- With Anxiety with Acid Peptic Disorder
- And GIRD.
He has improved significantly, symptomatically and no intervention was done during the hospitalization. He is likely to be discharged in next 5-7 days……
Similarly,the Certificate dated 26.03.2015 stated that the respondent was fit to be produced in a Court of Law but it did not indicate whether he was discharged, and if not discharged, the reason for his continued admission.
When the matter came up for hearing in May 2015, the court asked the hospital to file an affidavit with details containing why the accused has as not been taken into custody despite an order of arrest and medical certificate dated 26th March, 2015 issued by the hospital which declares him asymptomatic. The court also asked why the hospital has not formally discharged respondent if he is otherwise fit and does not require any further hospitalisation. The Medical Director was also directed to place on record details about the medical bills raised against respondent
The affidavit filed by the hospital then stated
The patient had improved significantly symptomatically but required Angiography/Thallium scan for further management but never gave consent for that. He always refused consent and wanted conservative treatment. During the stay he was told many times that he can be discharged but kept on delaying the decision for being discharged. He was not making payments for his medical bills. He had kept on assuring the hospital that he will clear all the medical bills but kept on paying small amounts and promising balance of payment soon.
The affidavit went on to state that the Hospital was not aware of any direction to the respondent to surrender to custody which he had not complied with and that the respondent had cleverly continued to stay in the Hospital.
The court observed
At the outset, it must be stated that the respondent stood admitted in the hospital for 527 days. Not a single laboratory test was conducted during the period from 15.02.2014 to 01.05.2015. The papers produced on record do not in any way suggest any medical emergency which could justify continued admission of the respondent as an indoor patient. Further, during the third admission of the respondent from 12.04.2014 the first payment to the hospital was made only on 10.01.2015 i.e. nearly after 247 days. It is inconceivable that in normal circumstances a man, who has no ailment or a medical condition requiring emergency treatment would be kept as indoor patient without any laboratory test and without recovering a single paisa for more than 247 days. Moreover, the record indicates that on as many as 47 occasions during his admission the respondent was allowed to move out of the hospital without even an endorsement by any medical professional justifying such movement. The Enquiry Report further shows that there used to be regular stream of visitors during the stay of respondent in the hospital. These features clearly show that the respondent was in perfect condition of health and never really required admission in the hospital as an indoor patient.
The role of the hospital was certainly not as innocent as is sought to be projected and the features detailed above clearly show that the hospital was party to the attempts on part of the respondent to defeat the Order passed by this Court.
The court then held
In our view,the Medical Professionals .. extended medical asylum to the respondent without there being any reason or medical condition justifying prolonged admission of the respondent as an indoor patient as a cover to defeat the Orders passed by this Court and the Trial Court, as stated above and thereby aided and assisted the respondent in violating the Order of this Court. By such conduct these Medical Professionals have obstructed administration of justice.
While holding the them guilty, considering the age and standing of the medical professionals, the hon’ble court has granted them one more opportunity to present their view on the issue of punishment. They have been directed to be present in the court on 2nd January, 2017.
You can read the full judgement by clicking on the following link