HC asks BMC to break the whip on illegal nursing homes in Mumbai

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The Bombay High Court on Monday questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on why it was not taking tough action against the city’s illegal nursing homes.

A bench of judges AK Anil Menon and MS Karnik took the civic body to task after noting that an inspection conducted by the civic body last December found that out of 1,574 private clinics or hospitals, only 687 had met the standards of fire safety and others.

The HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a certain Shakeel Shaikh highlighting a 2019 incident in which a three-year-old child lost his life at an unauthorized health camp held in the city that failed to comply not the required fire standards.

Lead attorney Milind Sathe, appearing for the BMC, said the civic body is taking action. However, he expressed his powerlessness to shut them down as there were patients in these illegal nursing homes.

To this, Judge Menon said: “We cannot understand how the BMC is so powerless that it cannot stop an illegal nursing home from operating just because there are 10 people there? If these nursing homes have no fire safety and yet there are people in them, disaster awaits!

The HC ordered the company to file an additional affidavit giving details of the number of clinics and/or nursing homes that continue to operate in the city without the required licenses and/or fire safety standards. He also called for BMC to be made for patients undergoing treatment in these nursing homes.

“We expect the least you can do is transfer them to another facility. Can you say that on the affidavit? Also, how hard is it to find out who is behind this? You performed COVID treatment at several of these unauthorized clinics, then you should know who is behind them,” the court said.

Along with BMC, HC asked the fire department to file their respective affidavits within three weeks.

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