Unregistered hospitals functional, dedicated as COVID facilities in Bihar: HC seeks State reply
Patna: The Patna High Court has asked Bihar Government to file a response on why certain unregistered hospitals have been allowed by the State Government to function and even designating certain hospitals as Covid-19 facilities.
The Patna HC bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar were listening to two petitions that sought implementation of the Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 in Bihar.
After listening to the contentions and concerns by the learned two Amicus Curiae, the Patna HC in the order dated 19.03.2021, directed the State Government to deal with each one of the issues which the learned amicus indicated in their notes.
Further suggesting that the State take the suggestions mentioned in the noted by the Amicus Curiae, the HC bench listed the matter to be next heard on May 10, 2021.
While looking into the provisions of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, the Court took note of the definition of the same.
Establishment which can be termed as "Clinical Establishment" stands defined under Section 2(c) of the Clinical Act. Evidently, all clinical establishments are mandatorily required to be registered under the Act as is stipulated under Section 12. The authorities constituted under the Clinical Act are also required to maintain records in digital format, which is evident from Section 37. Failing to comply with these provisions may lead to both civil and criminal consequences.
The Amicus Curiae Ritika Rani further contended that the National Council is mandatorily required to be constituted by virtue of section 5 of the Clinical Act. Its objects and duties are manifold including collecting the statistics in respect of clinical establishments. She further stated that a similar body such as National Council, at the state level, is required to be constituted under the provisions of the clinical Act.
Submitting that certain provisions of the Act and Rules stood unimplemented in the State of Bihar, she further prepared a note mentioning the provisions which are not strictly complied with by the State of Bihar.
Her note also mentioned series of factors as;
1. The district authorities were not imposing fine/penalty y against clinics as defined under section 2(c) of the Act, 2010, which are running without registration which is in complete violation of section 13, 20, 23, 26and30 of Bihar Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Rules, 2013.
2. The State Government had also designated COVID hospitals to private hospitals which are not registered under Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.
3. The State Government had also empanelled many hospitals and clinics under Ayushman Bharat Scheme which are not registered under Clinical Establishment (Registration & Regulation)Act, 2010.
The note also sought response from the Government regarding the number of hospitals/clinics which are duly registered in the the state of Bihar and what concrete steps have been taken against the clinics running without registration.
"The inaction of the respondents are only haring the health of the public at large but also boosting the quackery practice by unqualified doctors in the State of Bihar," the note further mentioned.
The other Amicus Curiae, Ram Krishna also prepared a note indicating the action required to be undertaken by the State of Bihar in complying with the provisions of the Act.
The note sought response from the State Government regarding various concerns including;
1. Whether the State Council of Clinical Establishment has been constituted within Bihar?
2. Is the necessary information being provided to the National Council by the State Council for Clinical Establishments under section 9 of the Clinical Establishment (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010?
3. Has the District Registering Authority been constituted for each of the Districts within the State of Bihar under Section 10 of the Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010 and how effectively has it been working?
4. Whether the District Registering Authority has been displaying information with respect to the grant of provisional registration, the name of the clinical establishments, address, ownership, name of the person in charge, details of the medical staff (doctors, nurses, etc)?
5. How many raids have been conducted so far in accordance with Regulation 29 of the Bihar Clinical Establishments (Registration an d Regulation) Rules, 2013?
6. Whether the list of valid and invalid laboratory centres have been regularly uploaded on District Websites?
7. Is the State Government maintaining a State Register of clinical establishments within the State as per section 38 of the Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010?
8. What all penalties and punishments have been imposed by the State Government so far upon the various clinical establishments and pathological laboratories on account of contravention of provisions of Sections 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44 of the Clinical Establishment (Registration & regulation) Act, 2010?
9. What is the action taken by the State Government so far towards compliance with section 54 of the Clinical Establishments (Registration & Regulation) Act, 2010?
10. Whether the provisions of Rule 8-A along with the Schedule and Rule 9 of the Clinical Establishments (Central Govt.) Rules, 2012 are being duly complied with in all the pathological laboratories within the State of Bihar.?
Appreciating the Amicus Curiae for their efforts to duly point out all these factors, the HC bench directed the State Government to deal with each one of the issues which the learned amicus has indicated in their notes.
Further directing the State to deal with the note and also account for the suggestion and action taken by them, the HC listed the matter to be next heard on May 10, 2021.
To view the original High Court order, click on the link below.