The Gujarat high court on Thursday rejected a petition by the Ahmedabad Medical Association and 44 hospitals seeking protection against the civic body’s sealing drive over not having valid Building Use permission.
While rejecting the petition, the bench of Justice Bela Trivedi and Justice Bhargav Karia granted two weeks to these hospitals to make proper arrangements for their patients and shift them to other facilities. It asked the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation not to initiate action against these hospitals and clinics before June 17.
This was after AMA’s request that patients were taking treatment in these hospitals, some of which were designated Covid hospitals, and taking action against them would be harsh in this pandemic. AMA sought time to accommodate patients being treated in these hospitals.
In this case, AMA with 44 of its members had approached the HC after AMC issued notices that the hospitals would be sealed as it did not have valid BU permissions.
STOP PLAYING WITH FIRE
AMA cannot invoke extraordinary jurisdiction: HC
In this case, AMA with 44 of its members had approached the HC after AMC issued notices that the hospitals would be sealed as it did not have valid BU permission.
These 44 hospitals, including 11 children hospitals and eight maternity homes, had BU permission for residential purposes and not for commercial use.
AMC began issuing notices after HC ordered for action against hospitals that do not have fire NOC and building use permission. This happened after petitioneradvocate Amit Panchal filed a PIL after a fire tragedy killed eight Covid-19 patients in Shrey Hospital in August 2020.
A couple of hospitals – Jagmohan Hospital Pvt Ltd in Navrangpura and Pushpam Hospital in Sabarmati – were even partially sealed by AMC.
The hospitals and AMA requested Gujarat high court to ask the muncipal corporation to grant relaxation by delaying its action or granting more time to obtain BU permission for commercial use.
However, AMC stuck to its stand that a public notice was issued on February 22 and then individual notices were given to these hospitals.
It said there was no point in granting relaxation because the cause falls in ‘individual interest’ and not in public interest.
After hearing the case, the high court said that AMA is not a registered organisation and since it is not affected by AMC decision, it cannot invoke extraordinary jurisdiction of the HC.
The court noticed that the municipal commissioner has powers under section 268 of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations (GPMC) Act to vacate any building after giving notice, if such building or a portion of it is unlawfully occupied in contravention of Section 263. Also, none of these hospitals have valid building use permission.
The high court also cited a Supreme Court observation that if a law is enacted but is not being voluntarily obeyed, then it has to be enforced, otherwise infringement of law, which is actively or passively condoned for personal gain will be encouraged which will in turn lead to a lawless society.