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SC lambasts Gujarat government over a notification on fire safety in hospitals

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The Supreme Court on Monday lambasted the Gujarat government for coming up with a notification to reverse its order on fire safety norms in COVID hospitals. It was done despite the fact that several patients have lost their lives in fire accidents in hospitals.

The apex court said that the state government’s move was a violation of its order as the hospitals have been given more time to install a fire safety system. The court also said that the state government’s notification provides an impression that it is protecting illegality.

What the SC said

The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and also comprising of Justice MR Shah said, “Once there is an order by us, it cannot be overridden by an executive notification like this. You (Gujarat) now give carte blanche and say hospitals do not have to adhere (to the order) till 2022 and people will continue to die by burning.”

“At Nashik (Maharashtra) one person recovered and was to be released the next day. Two nurses went to the washroom. All were burnt alive. These are human tragedies unfolded before our eyes. Hospitals have become a large real estate industry and they survive on human stress. Hospitals in small four rooms must be closed,” the court said.

“We read in newspapers that Gujarat had brought out a notification giving time till March 2022 for hospitals to comply with our orders,” Justice Shah said.

SC seeks explanation from Gujarat govt

The Supreme Court has sought an explanation from the Gujarat government for coming up with such a notification. It has also asked the government to submit an action taken report regarding the fire safety audit conducted pursuant to the court’s order issued in 2020-end. The state government sought time to file the reply.

Fire accidents in hospitals

In late November, six people had died at Rajkot’s Uday Shivanand Hospital, where COVID patients were treated. The police said the fire started in the intensive care unit, and the investigation revealed negligence on part of the hospital authorities, according to media reports. In May this year, 18 people died at a hospital in Bharuch after yet another fire.

 

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