Green light for GH at Government Estate
By T S Sekaran | ENS - CHENNAI
25th January 2013 07:24 AM
The Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging the shifting of the State Secretariat and Assembly from the new buildings in Omandurar Government Estate back to St Fort George and the conversion of the buildings into a multi-super-specialty hospital.
“The policy decision of the government cannot be stated to be in haste or waste. The said decision also cannot be stated to be arbitrary or whimsical, and on the contrary it would promote and protect the interest of the public at large, more particularly the weaker sections of society, to get better and expert treatment for serious ailments,” a special division bench comprising Justices K N Basha and N Paul Vasanthakumar said on Thursday.
The bench made it clear that the government should take all the necessary steps to provide treatment to the poor and deserving people, free of cost.
The bench noted that a division bench of the HC had already dismissed the writ petitions challenging the shifting of the Secretariat building and its conversion into a super-specialty hospital. The orders were not challenged in appeal and the matter had attained finality. The same issue could not be raised again, it said.
In its 60-page judgment, the bench said that it should be borne in mind that if a hospital was established, it would serve the public and promote public interest as rightly contended by Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan and senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi. Existence of other GHs and private hospitals for the population of Chennai City of about one crore would not be sufficient for the purpose of getting specialised treatment for the poor, middle class and the down-trodden people. The fact remained that as on date, there was no GHs in Chennai which could be equated with the AIIMs in New Delhi.
The government must keep in mind that the hospital should also serve the poor, middle class and the down-trodden, who were not able to get specialised treatment for serious ailments, for which patients had to incur heavy expenditure. Thus, the proposed decision to convert the A Block was per se in the interest of public. Moreover, the State Assembly had also approved the decision and hence, it could not be interfered with by this court, the bench said.
The decision was purely a matter of internal procedure adopted by the Assembly and hence, this court was not entitled to interfere in it when no violation of constitutional provisions was attracted, the bench added.
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