The Bombay High Court on Monday asked Mumbai’s civic body why it was not cracking the whip on illegal nursing homes.
A bench of Justices Anil Menon and MS Karnik asked the question to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation after noting that an inspection conducted by the civic body in December last year of 1,574 clinics or private hospitals showed that only 687 had complied with fire safety and other norms.
The HC was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Shakeel Shaik through his counsel, advocate Mohammed Zain Khan.
The plea highlighted an incident from 2019, where an unauthorized health camp organized in the city without meeting requisite fire norms witnessed an accident that resulted in the death of a three-year-old child.
Senior counsel Milind Sathe, who appeared for BMC, told HC it did take action but often it was unable to close them as there were patients in these illegal nursing homes.
”We can’t understand how the BMC is so powerless that it can’t stop an illegal nursing home from functioning just because there are 10 people there? If such nursing homes don’t have fire safety and yet, there are people in them, it is a disaster waiting to happen,” the HC said.
The court asked the BMC to file an additional affidavit detailing how many clinics or nursing homes continued to operate in the city without requisite licenses and, or, fire safety norms.
It also the BMC what it did about the patients who are undergoing treatment in such nursing homes.
”We expect the least you can do is to shift them to another facility. Can you say this on the affidavit? Also, how difficult is it to know who is behind it? You have conducted COVID treatment in many of these unauthorized clinics so you should know who is behind them,” the HC said. The HC directed BMC and the city fire department to file their respective affidavits within three weeks.