Ahmedabad: 42 private hospitals, nursing homes to be sealed
Ahmedabad: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Monday issued notices to 42 private hospitals and nursing homes to seal their premises within a week and directed them not to administer any new patients.
Besides the government body issuing closure notice, the health department has cancelled Form 'C' or the registration of these hospitals. Meanwhile, the hospitals have also been asked by the estate and town development department of the AMC, via a written order, to shift their patients.
The direction to shut the facilities comes following a Supreme Court order that had stayed a state notification granting time until next year for buildings in violation of building control regulations.
On August 27, while hearing a suo motu petition about fire safety in hospitals, the apex court had held in abeyance the state government's notification dated July 8 that gave hospitals and nursing homes time till March 2022 to comply with the Building Use (BU) norms.
The July 8 notification issued by the Gujarat Urban Development and Urban Housing Department stated that buildings without valid building use permission, and/or are in breach of BU and/or have violated development control regulations shall be exempt from complying with the building control regulations for three months from the last date of the applicability of the Gujarat Epidemic Diseases Covid-19 Regulations 2020, which is December 2021. The state had also protected the erring buildings from coercive action as well.
On September 7, following public notice, AMC initiated the process of sealing the institutions that were running without BU permission and non-compliance with fire safety norms, reports Times Now.
Private hospitals and nursing homes in Ahmedabad were issued notices asking them to get BU permit and fire safety certificate. The hospital managements and Ahmedabad Medical Association appealed against this notice in the Gujarat High Court.
All these 42 nursing homes and hospitals were parties to the appeal in Gujarat High Court and Supreme Court, who had sought the court's protection from coercive actions owing to failure in complying with buildings norms and regulations.
However, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed the petition 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 on the ground of being vague and not being maintainable.
Following this, an appeal was made in the Supreme Court, where the bench found prima facie no merits to the appeal and refused to interfere with the Gujarat HC's order.
While staying the state's notification, the Supreme Court had observed in its order, "Granting exemptions from complying with development control regulations which are made in the public interest to promote the health, safety and welfare of citizens defeats the letter and purpose of the legislation. Condoning the gross irregularities in constructing buildings which do not have building use or, as the case may be, fire permissions, has resulted in violation of the law to the detriment to public health as is evident from the incidents of fire which have taken place both in Rajkot and Bharuch…"
Now, the AMC has stated that if the hospitals fail to close down by itself after seven days, the AMC will proceed with legal action and seal the buildings.
"The action was taken after receiving the copy of Supreme Court's order. The notice issued to 42 private hospitals and nursing homes without BU and fire safety permission clearly states that they cease to operate and cannot admit any new patient. However, keeping in mind the patients admitted at the hospital, these are given a week's time to shift patients to other hospitals," Deputy Municipal Commis-sioner Praveen Chaudhar told The Indian Express.
"As and when we get information of hospitals without BU and fire safety NOC, we will cancel the Form C and issue notices. Today's names have been disclosed to the public at large that registration of these hospitals and private nursing homes has been cancelled," DyMC Chaudhary added.