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“Hospitals cannot be potential jatugrihas”: Bombay HC takes cognizance of hospital fires

The Bombay High Court on Thursday took cognizance of the fire accidents in hospitals in Maharashtra and said that fire audits have to be carried out in all hospitals with immediate effect.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said that hospitals cannot be fire hazard spots referring to jatugriha, the house made of lacquer in the Hindu epic Mahabharat by which Kauravas attempted to eliminate Pandavas albeit without success.

“We do not want these hospitals to be potential jatubgriha. In Mahabharat… I don’t know what you call it here. Pandavas house… These hospitals are all jatubgrihas,” Justice Datta said.

The remarks were made during the hearing of a case concerning improper management of COVID-19 pandemic and the issues surrounding the medical treatment being afforded to COVID patients.

During the hearing on Thursday, Justice Datta highlighted the recent fire accident at a hospital in Thane in which four people died.

“First there was an incident in Bhandup, then in Virar, then Nashik and now in Thane,” he said.

Senior Advocate Anil Sakhare appearing for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation agreed.

“Yes we are looking into it. People come for treatment and they die of something else,” Sakhare said.

“Fire audits have to start in all hospitals. They (COVID patients) go into hospitals in agony, but they should not be suffering like this. We understand these are trying times and everything is tested. We have to leave our work aside and look into basic compliances,” Justice Datta emphasied.

The Court directed the BMC to start fire audit in all hospitals and show compliance.

The issue is likely to be examined again on May 4 when the case will be taken up next for hearing.


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