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Govt rapped for building violations in hosps

Coming down heavily on the state government for failing to abide by the statutory norms to prevent unauthorised structures serving as hospitals at the cost of patient safety, the Madras High Court has directed the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to file a status report regards the unauthorised constructions put up by the hospitals, especially, the corporate hospitals in the city of Chennai, with the supporting documents and photographs.

Govt rapped for building violations in hosps
Madras High Court


A division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice R Hemalatha before whom the public interest litigation moved by Jawaharal Shanmugam came up, also directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to file an affidavit as to the action taken on the final report of the State Level Experts’ Committee and the firefighting arrangements in the hospitals.

“This Court grants a final opportunity to the said authorities to come out with comprehensive status reports with supporting documents and photographs, failing which, the top most officials manning the said authority/department have to personally remain present before this Court,” the bench said.

Also, expressing dismay over the Health and Family Welfare Department sitting on the report despite its submission a year ago, the bench said, “It is to be noted at this juncture that once the report is filed, the Health and Family Welfare Department is expected to take a call. But, even after the lapse of nearly one year and odd, nothing is moving forward despite this Court having issued appropriate directions in the matter earlier.”

“Those directions are hardly complied with, and as and when this matter is listed, some lame excuses are being made in the form of seeking time to get appropriate instructions, the bench led by Justice Sathyanarayanan observed.

Further, citing Chapter IV of the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules, 2019, which speaks about the completion certificate and ‘Illegal Developments,’ the bench said, “Though the statutes, rules and regulations are in place for very many decades, the regulatory authorities hardly take action, unless some writ petitions are filed and directions are issued by this court in those writ petitions.”

“The inept attitude and deliberate inaction on the part of the regulatory authorities have to be viewed very seriously. This court, unless and until, takes a very serious view followed by stern action, it appears that the regulatory authorities would not even perform their statutory functions and obligations,” the bench noted while posting the plea to March 13 for further hearing.

The petitioner had submitted that a Committee was constituted regards fire safety and unauthorised hospitals, in which he is also a member and the Committee has submitted the final report to the Administrative Department during March, 2019 and since then it has been put in cold storage.

He also submitted that many hospitals, including corporate hospitals, had put up wholly unauthorised structures undermining the safety and welfare of not only the patients, but also the employees in the said hospitals.

But, the regulatory authorities viz CMDA and MCI are also keeping quiet and sought the court for appropriate orders.

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