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Aastha Diagnostic Clinical Lab. & Ors. Vs. State of J&K & Ors. [2009] INSC 185 (29 January 2009)

Judgment

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No(s).10361/2006 (From the judgement and order dated 19/04/2006 and 29.5.2006 in OWP No. 60/2006 & OWP No. 112/2006 of The HIGH COURT OF J & K AT JAMMU) AASTHA DIAGNOSTIC CLINICAL LAB. & ORS. Petitioner(s) VERSUS STATE OF J&K & ORS. Respondent(s) (With prayer for interim relief and office report)(For final disposal) WITH SLP(C) NO. 10499 of 2006,SLP(C) NO. 12441 of 2006 (With appln. for directions and permission to file rejoinder affidavit and prayer for interim relief and office report)(For final disposal) SLP(C) NO. 1242 of 2007,SLP(C) NO. 14344 of 2006 SLP(C) NO. 14345 of 2006,SLP(C) NO. 15584 of 2006 (With appln. for exemption from filing c/c of the impugned order and c/delay in filing SLP and prayer for interim relief and office report) (For final disposal) SLP(C) NO. 13087 of 2006,SLP(C) NO. 13761 of 2006 SLP(C) NO. 13737 of 2006 (With prayer for interim relief and office report ) (For final disposal) SLP(C) NO. 14296 of 2006 (With appln. for exemption from filing c/c of the impugned order and and prayer for interim relief and office report) (For final disposal) Date: 29/01/2009 These Petitions were called on for hearing today.

CORAM :

HON'BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE P. SATHASIVAM HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE J.M. PANCHAL

For Petitioner(s) Mr. V. Hazarika, Adv.

Mr. Indrajeet Gupta, Adv.

Ms. S. Hazarika, Adv.

Ms. D. Phooban, Adv.

For Ms. Sumita Hazarika,Adv.

-2- Mr. Milind Kumar, Adv.

Mr. Mukul Kumar, Adv.

Ms. Charu Mathur, Adv.

For Mr. P.D. Sharma, Adv.

Ms. Shiva Lakshmi, Adv.

For Mr. T. Mahipal, Adv.

Mr.Sunil Kumar Verma, Adv.

For Respondent(s) Mr. Anis Suhrawardy Mr. Tabrez Ahmad, Adv.

UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following ORDER Leave granted.

The appeals are disposed of in terms of the signed order.

(R.K.DHAWAN) (VEERA VERMA) COURT MASTER COURT MASTER (Signed order is placed on the file) IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.499 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.10361 of 2006) AASTHA DIAGNOSTIC CLINICAL LAB.& ORS. ...APPELLANTS.

VERSUS WITH
C.A.NO.500 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.13737/2006) C.A.NO.501 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.10499/2006) C.A.NO.502 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.15584/2006) C.A.NO.503 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.12441/2006) C.A.NO.504 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.13087/2006) C.A.NO.505 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.13761/2006) C.A.NO.506 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.14344/2006) C.A.NO.507 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.14345/2006) C.A.NO.508 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.1242/2007) C.A.NO.509 OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.14296/2006) ORDER Leave granted.

The appellants before us are running hospitals/clinics and diagnostic centres in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In a public interest litigation filed before the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, the Division Bench of the High Court gave -2- certain directions regarding basic infrastructure facilities which are to be provided in the hospitals and other clinical establishments. The petitioner in the public interest litigation alleged that many of the hospitals in the State of Jammu and Kashmir are not having adequate facilities and State Authorities are not taking care to insist that basic facilities should be there in the hospitals. It is alleged that licenses are issued for running these type of institutions without being any proper guidelines and requested the High Court to issue appropriate guidelines. The High Court considered these matters and directed the Chief Secretary of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to constitute a committee to be headed by Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department and comprising of two Principals, Government Medical Colleges at Srinagar and Jammu; two Principals of Government Dental Colleges at Srinagar and Jammu; two Directors of Health Services of Kashmir and Jammu Provinces; Director, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, Srinagar and Chief Engineer of UEED, and the committee was directed to evolve and formulate suitable criteria/norms for registration of private hospitals/nursing homes and clinical establishments/laboratories. The Committee submitted a report and also opined that the norms should be established for hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and -3- diagnostic centres. This was approved by the Government and issued in the Form - Norms for Registration & Licensing of Nursing Homes and Clinical Establishments-2006. The hospitals were divided into two categories - nursing homes upto 25 beds and nursing homes above 25 beds. Detailed guidelines have been given regarding the various facilities that are to be made available to the patients. The present appellants before us who are running hospitals/nursing homes/clinics have already been given licenses by the Government.

The learned counsel appearing for the appellants contended before us that these appellants are running these institutions for the last several years and some of them are situated within the city limits of Jammu and Srinagar and it is difficult for them to acquire more space to provide these facilities. It is also contended that if these additional facilities are provided, the expenses for health care itself will go up and ordinary citizens will not be able to avail the benefits of these private hospitals. It is also argued that these sophisticated facilities could be provided only by few private hospitals which has got enormous economic power and appellants would not be in a position to give all these facilities.

Learned counsel appearing for the State contended that these guidelines have been issued after considering all relevant facts and they are basically essential for providing -4- the health care to the citizens of the State. It is also argued that if any of the hospitals/clinics or other centres do not have these facilities they can seek exemption upto 25% as provided in the guidelines.

Our attention was drawn to the various parameters which are laid down in the guidelines. Care has been taken to provide facilities to the patients by the health care units. We do not think that these norms are violative of any rights of the appellants. However, we have noticed that all these hospitals/clinics and other centres had been in existence for fairly a long period and they had started these units under proper license on the basis of the then existing rules. The hospitals owned by these appellants are lacking any of the facilities which are to be provided as per the new guidelines, they are to be given six months time to update the facilities in accordance with the norms laid down by the Government. If any structure or alteration is required for hospital/building, the appellants be given one year time to comply with it. If the appellants are seeking exemption of the guidelines or modification, they may file proper application to the Director of Health Services and it is for the Director of Health Services to consider the individual -5- application and on hearing the appellants may pass appropriate orders regarding 25% exemption permissible as per the guidelines.

The appeals are disposed of accordingly.

...................CJI (K.G. BALAKRISHNAN)

.....................J (P. SATHASIVAM)

.....................J (J.M. PANCHAL)

NEW DELHI;

JANUARY 29, 2009.

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