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After Nudge From High Court, Karnataka Govt Installs MRI Scanning Machine At DIMHANS

Mustafa Plumber
21 April 2022 8:45 AM GMT
After Nudge From High Court, Karnataka Govt Installs MRI Scanning Machine At DIMHANS
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The Karnataka Government on Thursday informed the High Court that an M.R.I scanning machine has been installed and made operational at the Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (DIMHANS). A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S R Krishna took on record the compliance affidavit filed by the government stating that installation of the MRI...

The Karnataka Government on Thursday informed the High Court that an M.R.I scanning machine has been installed and made operational at the Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (DIMHANS).

A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S R Krishna took on record the compliance affidavit filed by the government stating that installation of the MRI Scanning machine is complete and trial runs are in progress and even the Medical Superintendent has been appointed.

It added, "The above compliance is substantiated with photographs of installation of MRI scan machine and appointment order of Superintendent. In view of the above we feel substantial compliance has been carried out by respondents and thus nothing remains to adjudicate and writ petition is accordingly disposed of."

The direction was given during the suo-motu petition initiated in the year 1996 pursuant to a direction issued by the Supreme Court on September 5, 1995. During pendency of the petition directions were issued to respondents regarding the installation of MRI scanning machines at DIMHANS. The installation for the machine was required as per the respondent themselves, but for one or the other reasons it could not be installed.

By its order dated April 5, the court had even directed the state government not to disburse the salary of the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare (Medical Education) for failing to install M.R.I. Scanning Machine and making it operational. However, at the request of the Additional Advocate General, the order was kept in abeyance till today. The bench in its order clarified that in view of the compliance affidavit the restriction on disbursing salary of Principal Secretary, shall not be given effect.

Background:

The court had in November 2021, directed the State Government to upgrade, by March 1, 2022, the Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (DIMHANS) to a higher psychiatry centre and install and make operational the MRI Machine in the hospital.

It had then said, "We are not satisfied with the explanation given for the delay in implementation of the project particularly installation of MRI machine. However, we are made to understand that a three months mandatory period is required as it (machine) has to be imported from outside the country, for which the order would be placed by December 1. Let the machine be installed and made operational by March 1, 2022. As undertaken by the Principal secretary, Medical Education Department."

However, on April 5 when the matter was heard the court was informed that an affidavit has been filed indicating therein that the M.R.I. Scanning Machine has been delivered to the Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (DIMHANS) which has been acknowledged by the letter dated 28.03.2022. It is also informed that 75% of the civil work for installation of M.R.I. Scanning Machine is complete and 25% of the work is in progress.

Following which the court said, "It is to be noted that on the assurance given by learned Additional Advocate General on the last date that the M.R.I. Scanning Machine would be made operational in DIMHANS by 30.03.2022, we had granted time to the respondents and fixed the matter for today i.e.05.04.2022. It is also to be noted that the matter of installation of the M.R.I. Scanning Machine in DIMHANS has been going on for a considerably long time. The requirement of the M.R.I. Scanning Machine in the hospital concerned and its utility is not denied."

Further it said "We have been granting time on every date to see the work of installation of the M.R.I. Scanning Machine is completed and the machine is put to use. The Court, vide order dated 05.03.2020, had directed the State Government to take immediate steps for procuring the M.R.I. Scanning Machine of requisite specifications for the use at DIMHANS. Six weeks' time was granted to the State Government to do so. Since then, again and again, time has been granted by the Court, but the M.R.I. Scanning Machine has not been installed in the hospital concerned."

The bench then opined, "It is a very sorry state of affairs, it adversely reflects on the intention of the Authorities in getting the M.R.I. Scanning Machine installed in the hospital concerned. We cannot appreciate the conduct of the officers concerned. We therefore, direct that the salary of the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare (Medical Education) shall not be disbursed till the M.R.I. Scanning Machine is installed and made operational."

The directions were given during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in the year 1996.

Case Title: Karnataka State Legal Services Authority v. State Of Karnataka

Case No: WP 18741/1996

Citation: 2022 Livelaw (Kar) 129

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