Expressing anguish over the incident, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan termed it “shocking”.
The top court said that the Gujarat government must be answerable. The bench, also comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, said there can’t just be an inquiry and report.
“Those who are responsible must be brought to book,” it added and directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the matter.
Supreme Court made these observations during the hearing of suo moto case in connection with proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals.
The Rajkot hospital fire resulted in the death of six patients in the ICU of a Covid-19 dedicated hospital. The top court said fire incidents in hospitals killing patients are recurring in states and one hospital after another, and there is no action taken by states to prevent fire.
The top court sought response from the Centre, as well as Gujarat by December 1.
The top court also took strong exception to large gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic and cited that 80 per cent are not wearing masks and the rest who are wearing have the masks hanging from their jaws.
The bench said the things are going from bad to worse and the Centre and state governments should solidly implement the guidelines to contain further surge in pandemic patients’ numbers.
The top court emphasised that in the absence of vaccine, norms to be observed for fighting the pandemic should be a priority.
“But what is the situation on ground? Union government must take lead to implement the guidelines across India. Harsher measures are needed,” said the top court.