Taking cognizance of the fire at a hospital in Mumbra in Thane district, the Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, on Thursday, ordered the authorities in Maharashtra to ensure no such incident takes place anywhere in the state. The high court also ordered the authorities to ask all hospitals to conduct an overall audit including a fire safety check and submit a compliance report within a week.
"People get admitted in hospitals for their protection and safety. They get admitted to save their lives but not to die," remarked the bench, while taking cognizance of the tragic incident of a massive fire that broke out in Covid hospital at Mumbra, on Wednesday.
Notably, four patients died in this incident. "First it happened in Bhandup, then Vasai-Virar and now here. Also, not to forget the incident at Nashik," CJ Datta pointed out.
"Such incidents shouldn't happen at all," CJ Datta told senior counsel Anil Sakhare representing the BMC and assistant government pleader Geeta Shastri.
The bench further expressed shock over the functioning of these hospitals. "We fail to understand how do these hospitals get the licences in absence of fire safety audit?" the chief justice questioned.
At this, Sakhare replied, that after the Bhandup fire incident the city civic body has ordered all hospitals to submit their fire safety audits. Justice Kulkarni intervened and said, "Not only hospitals, we want even the nursing homes, Covid care centers etc to conduct audits and submit their reports within a week."
"The patients after facing agony and pain come to hospitals to get rid of it. Why should they be dying because of lapses on part of the hospitals. Their safety is paramount," the judge added.
Referring to the Jatugriha - a lac house built up at the behest of Duryodhana, to set ablaze the Pandavas in Mahabharata epic, CJ Datta said, "We don't want the hospitals to become potential Jatugrihas."
The bench was further told by advocate Rajesh Inamadar, appearing for an intervenor, that apart from fire audits the authorities must also keep a check on the overall maintenance audit so as to avoid incidents like the one occurred in Nashik due to oxygen leak.
"Direct all authorities to conduct overall audits of all hospitals, wherever a patient is admitted. Ask for compliance within a week and submit a report to us on next date of hearing," the bench ordered the state, while adjourning the matter till next Tuesday.