Nursing homes without ICU can’t conduct Operations : Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Courthas said nursing homes without an intensive care unit facility can’t carry out surgeries on a patient as absence of an ICU posed danger to the patient’s life. A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar goel and U U Lalit gave the ruling on a petition filed by Bijoy Sinha who lost his wife due to alleged medical negligence of Dr Das who conducted a hysterectomy surgery at Kolkata’s Ashutosh Nursing Home in Kolkata. The nursing home did not have an ICU facility

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The SC said that the Consumer Protection Act was an additional remedy, thereby indicating that proceedings against a realtor under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 wouldn’t bar recourse to parallel action in consumer forums. This will boost hopes of all homebuyers facing harassment at the hands of truant realtors.

A bench of Justices Mr. Goel and U U Lalit said, “Provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, are in addition to and not in derogation of any other law. Thus, the Act provides for additional remedies. The authorities under the Act exercise quasi-judicial powers. The award of damages (in the case filed by Sinha) is aimed at bringing about qualitative change in the attitude of service providers.”

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While absolving Dr Biswanath Das of medical negligence for deciding to perform surgery on Sinha’s wife, the court awarded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Soumik. This ruling means that even if a realtor has been proceeded against under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, people won’t be barred from taking recourse to consumer forums to claim relief for deficient services. The apex court said though an alternative dispute redressal mechanism for settlement of disputes outside courts was applicable only to civil cases, “there is no reason to exclude its applicability to consumer fora”. “It will be open to the national commission and the state commissions to coordinate with the national legal services authority and state legal services authorities for settlement of disputes by resorting to alternative dispute redressal mechanism,” the Supreme Court said.

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