Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat government : Fire Safety in COVID hospitals

The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said,
“Once a mandamus is there, it cannot be overridden by an executive notification like this! You now give a carte blanche and say hospitals don’t have to adhere till 2022 and people will continue dying and be burnt…”

On failing to follow its directions with regard to fire safety norms in hospitals the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Gujarat government referring to a notification issued by the government effectively stating that hospitals do not have to adhere to the norms till June 2022.

Justice Shah said, “40 hospitals in Gujarat were held liable and they came to High Court. Later, government order was that no action should be taken against hospitals for violation of fire safety. Such an order is a contempt of this court.”

Directing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the issue, the Court said,
“How can government pass such an order that no action will be taken against hospitals?”

The Court eventually directed Gujarat government to file a comprehensive statement giving details of fire safety audits which were conducted pursuant to the Supreme Court order of December 2020.

Hospitals have become large industry now based on human distress and we cannot prosper them at the cost of lives. Let such hospitals be closed,” said Justice Chandrachud.

“Let not the impression go that state is shielding such hospitals,” Justice Shah weighed in.

The matter will be heard again after two weeks.

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