Bad Governance: NMMC tries to close down Super Specialty Hospital

HC warns of action against officer who ordered hosp closure

Rosy Sequeira TNN 

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday asked the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) what action it proposes to take against the officer who directed closure of the super-specialty Hiranandani Fortis Hospital in Vashi for operating beds in excess of its sanctioned limit. The court also warned that if the NMMC does not take action, it shall initiate action against Dr Ramesh Nikam, the health officer, who issued the order.

         Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a plea by Hiranandani Healthcare Private Limited challenging Nikam’s June 26, 2012, order passed under the Bombay Nursing Homes Registration Act, cancelling the hospital’s registration and ordering it to stop functioning.

       NMMC’s counsel Y S Jahagirdar said the hospital flouted norms regarding the number of beds it operates. “There were violations,’’ said Jahagirdar, adding that while the hospital has 150 beds sanctioned, an inspection revealed that it was operating 158 beds.

      But the judges questioned whether the officer followed the law while issuing the order to shut down immediately. “What right does he have to pass such an order? There may be a case of life and death emergency in the hospital,’’ said Justice Bobde. The judges also remarked that every day, they come across cases of illegalities by government officials. “What’s going on? There is a limit to insensitivity,” said Bobde.

       The judges observed that an inference can be drawn that the order was mala fide. They pointed out that while four other hospitals were also found with violations, notice was only issued to Hiranandani to shut down immediately. “This shows the order was mala fide. How can you direct the hospital to close?’’ asked Justice Bobde.

     Jahagirdar submitted that the hospital can appeal within a month of the order. But the hospital’s advocate Zal Andhyarujina said, “The order shows a pre-determined mind and the law is that when the public authority shows pre-determination, then a writ petition is an appropriate remedy.’’ Jahagirdar conceded that the order could not have taken effect because it is contrary to the Act. “Therefore, it is for the court to decide,’’ Andhyarujina insisted. The judges said the NMMC must tell the HC what action it proposes to take against Nikam. They asked Jahagirdar to inform the court at the next hearing a week later.

MALA FIDE ORDER: The Hiranandani-Fortis Hospital in Vashi

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