Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Supreme Court pulls up Gujarat over Rajkot Covid-19 hospital fire, says don’t suppress facts

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Gujarat government report in the fire that broke out in a Covid-19 designated hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat on November 27, killing six persons. The fire in the hospital was said to have broken out due to a short circuit. The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah were hearing the suo motu case for proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and the dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals.

In today’s hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Centre had filed an affidavit and issued guidelines. In the affidavit, Mehta said the committee head has been changed and the case will now be headed by Justice BA Mehta.

While saying the state should not suppress facts, Justice M.R. Shah observed, “Nothing has been done with the hospital. The Gujarat government is satisfied with the commission’s report. What about the people who died on the 7th floor. What about the report which says that the wiring was faulty and all of a sudden everything is fine now.” The court adjourned the matter to December 3.

The court had earlier taken suo motu cognizance of the fire that broke out in a Covid-19 designated hospital and stated that fire incidents in the hospitals were repetitive and authorities have not issued measures and guidelines to prevent such incidents.

In the previous hearing on November 23, SG Mehta had asked the bench not to issue any direction for the time being and that the Central government would come up with some guidelines, which was filed on Tuesday. 

The Supreme Court in June had issued directions to states and union territories to ensure continuous monitoring and supervision of government hospitals and those dedicated to treatment of Covid-19 patients. The case also revolves around the proper and humane treatment of bodies of Covid-19 deceased. There had been suo motu proceedings in High Courts over media reports that Covid facilities were inhumanely treating the remains of the deceased in their mortuaries.

Read Also: Delhi HC to hear plea on recognising transgenders as separate gender in NCRB data

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