A huge relief that will make Diwali really Happy for the PCPNDT affected.

Case Details :
WP No. 1021/2017, decided on 12/10/2017

Judgment Link :

Facts in short :
1. The MGS Super Specialty Hospital, one of the well known 100 bedded multi speciality Hospital in New Delhi, challenged the action of AA under PCPNDT Act which suspended and canceled the registration of 6 Ultrasound Machines used in the Hospital.

2. The Hospital having NABH accreditation claims to provide high-quality services and has about 27 different departments from “A”nesthesia to “U”rology and in almost all these departments USG machines are used for the various diagnostic purpose on female (pregnant / non-pregnant) and male patients too.

3. On 16/06/2014, the Hospital appointed Dr. Arun Singh Chauhan (said Doctor), having 25 yrs of experience, as the Head of the Department of the Radiology and this factum of communicated to the Respondents vide separate letter and there was no objection from the Respondents. In past several inspections were conducted by the Respondents, but no irregularities under the PCPNDT Act were ever found.

4. On 08/06/2016, one Ms. Deepa came to the Hospital for USG of the whole abdomen without disclosing that she was pregnant. When Ms. Deepa was being examined by Dr. Arun Singh Chauhan, the raid was conducted by AA Officials and said Doctor was caught red-handed doing sex-determination.

5. It was later on revealed that said Doctor was indulged in such activities before and a criminal case was also pending against him and it was revealed that Ms. Deepa was a Decoy patient. As a result, the AA first suspended and later on canceled the registrations of all 6 machines and as result Hospital had a lot of problems in diagnosis. It was contented by AA that there were discrepancies in F Forms, IDs of patients were not taken, no referral slip was found etc.. Ultimately the machines were sealed and FIR was lodged

Defense of the Hospital :
1. Firstly the Decoy patient never disclosed to Hospital that she was pregnant and therefore other mandatory requirements were not asked to be filled by her. Moreover in the FIR also the name of the Hospital was not mentioned and the offense was registered only against said Doctor. Moreover, when the appointment of the said Doctor was informed to the Respondent, it did not disclose the earlier pending criminal case against said Doctor.

2. Moreover, the patients of the Trauma, pediatric, surgical, cardiac, respiratory, urology, orthopedics departments are also dependent upon the Department of Radiology and as a result of sealed machines, the patients are unnecessarily suffering.

Held :
1. The Hon. Delhi High Court (Coram :Hon. Sanjeev Sachdeva J.) allowed the petition and gave huge reliefs to the Hospital.
2. By ad-interim orders, the orders of suspension and cancellation of registration were stayed. When it was pointed out that FIR was filed on 08/02/2016 and report was filed on 21/10/2016 and in these 8 months, no efforts were made by the Authorities to collect the data from these machines. When the machines were ordered to be de-sealed, then it was contended that the data in the said machine might require for investigation purpose.
3.The allegations against the Hospital were relating to Recordkeeping and the main offense of sex determination was only against said Doctor and not against the Hospital. Nor the office bearers of the Hospital were even shown as witnesses. It was an admitted fact that the decoy patient never disclosed to Hospital staff that she was pregnant and she got the slip for whole abdomen checkup.
4. The Court further held that the action of cancellation of the Registration is very harsh and virtually amounts to the entire functioning of the multispecialty 100 bedded Hospital coming to a standstill, thereby depriving the general public at large of Medical Facilities, moreover when the past record of the Hospital was very clean.
5. Importantly the Court also underlined that “Further in today’s day and time, in the absence of availability of adequate government medical facilities, private hospitals provide requisite medical facilities to the public. The Hospitals in that sense render public service. ”
6. The Court also observed that today ultrasound examination has become the very basic and mandatory diagnostic technique for examination and treatment of nearly all ailments.
7. The Court also discussed in detail the power of Court to retain the property confiscated and how it should be released.
8. Lastly, the Court directed to de-seal 6 machines thereby restoring the registration of the Hospital. If the machines are not returned within 1 month, then the Hospital was given deemed permission to purchase new machines as per law. However, it was made clear that right of the AA to initiate other criminal action against Hospital and others as per law is intact.

Really, the Ultrasound has become the basic diagnostic technique and if same are taken out the Hospital and ultimately patients would suffer enormously. The Hon. Court has given right judgment and a Diwali Gift. The Hospital was also saved as it was functioning as per law and as per aims and objects of PCPNDT Act. Its track record was good. This also emphasizes the importance of “Background Check of Doctors” by the Hospitals. By the act of one of the doctor, entire Hospital had to suffer. Let’s Hope that AA will also learn from this judgment.

Lastly, The menace of female foeticide can be curtailed only when people will change their mindset and stop discriminating between a Son and a Daughter… No amount of penal provisions can help…
With this, Wish you all a very Happy Diwali and prosperous, healthy and litigation-free new year ahead…

Thanks and Regards

Adv. Rohit Erande

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