25 May 2023 12:38 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Government to hear the representatives of the Kerala Judicial Officers Association, the Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS), the IMA - Kerala Chapter, Kerala Private Hospital Association, the Kerala Govt Medical Officers Association (KGMOA), and the Kerala Govt Medical College Teacher Association (KGMCT), while finalizing protocols...
The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Government to hear the representatives of the Kerala Judicial Officers Association, the Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS), the IMA - Kerala Chapter, Kerala Private Hospital Association, the Kerala Govt Medical Officers Association (KGMOA), and the Kerala Govt Medical College Teacher Association (KGMCT), while finalizing protocols for production of persons from the custody of the police.
The Court made the above direction while considering the case relating to the death of a 23 year old house surgeon, Dr. Vandana Das, who was brutally killed by an injured man brought to the government hospital in a police jeep, in Kottarakkara, Kollam, earlier this month. The Senior Government Pleader S. Kannan, today, informed the Court that a draft of the protocol had been prepared by the Police department and submitted to the Government, in accordance with the direction of the Court.
Upon the submission by the Sr. Government Pleader that the same would require at least a month's time, the Division Bench comprising Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice Kauser Edappagath observed,
"... we are of the view that we require to be informed much earlier. Thus, the response of the Govt shall be made available to us as far as possible, by the next posting date".
During the hearing today, the Senior Government Pleader S. Kannan, had placed before the Court a memo which produced therewith the Ordinance to amend the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2012. The Court observed that while it would not speak on the Ordinance, a "long pending concern of the healthcare service community" had been taken note of and acted upon by the Government through the said Ordinance.
The Senior Government Pleader further informed the Court today that the proposal regarding grant of protection by the State Industrial Security Force (SISF) for government hospitals was under the active consideration of the Government, and that the Health Department had been asked to give a list of those hospitals which require on priority and without any charge. He submitted that the Government was of the considered opinion that as far as private hospitals were concerned, they could make their own arrangements without relying upon the SISF.
At this juncture, the Court observed, "Though the policy of the government with respect to government hospitals is in the right direction, we are with you that they affording of protection of SISF to private hospitals is also one they must consider and address, particularly when they are unequivocally saying that they are willing to foot the bill for all such cover".
It therefore directed the Government to actively consider the providing of security cover to all hospitals, whether government or private, through the agency of the SISF.
"They will be at full liberty to consider and enumerate the terms including for payment by hospitals in private sector for this purpose. When the Kerala Pvt Hospitals Association is heard, this aspect shall also be taken into account," the Court added.
Taking note that the Ordinance issued by the Government did not provide for registration of FIR within an hour of information regarding attacks against healthcare service providers being intimated to the police, the Court clarified that its earlier Order in that regard would continue to be in effect.
The Court today also considered the plea filed by a lawyer seeking Rs. 1 Crore compensation for the bereaved family members of Dr. Vandana Das.
"It is indubitable that in matters like this, it is the policy of the Govt which is important and it would be scarce for this Court to impose any particular Order. The locus of the petitioner in moving this petition is also something required to be considered in due course; but suffice to say, the decision of the Govt would be vital for any decision we take. We therefore adjourn this matter to the next date, within which time the Govt will make their views available in this matter," the Court directed.
The Court also orally remarked that the greatest tribute one could make for the parents of the deceased young doctor would be for the society as a whole to completely condemn the incident.
The matter has been posted for further consideration after two weeks.
Case Title: Kerala Private Hospitals Association v. State of Kerala & Ors. and Adv. Manoj Rajagopal v. State of Kerala
Click Here To Read/Download The Order