SC orders monthly fire audit of all Covid-19 hospitals

SC orders monthly fire audit of all Covid-19 hospitals

All Covid-19 hospitals that do not have an NOC from the state fire department must apply immediately, the court said

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court has directed all state governments to carry out fire audits of all Covid hospitals in every district at least once per month and inform deficiencies to the management of the hospital and report in order to take follow up action.

"All States/Union Territories should appoint one nodal officer for each Covid hospital, if not already appointed, who shall be made responsible for ensuring the compliance of all fire safety measures," a bench presided over by Justice Ashok Bhushan said.

In a suo motu case after a fire incident at a hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat on November 26, the bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah directed the Gujarat government to extend all cooperation to the Enquiry Commission headed by Justice D A Mehta.

The Commission has been asked to inquire also into a fire incident in Shrey Hospital, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, in August this year, which caused the death of eight patients, in addition to enquiry in to the November 2020 incident in Uday Shivanand Hospital, Rajkot, which claimed five lives. 

It directed that an enquiry report should be submitted at an early date and the appropriate remedial action be taken by the state.

The court also directed that Covid hospitals which have not obtained NOC from the fire department of the state should be asked to immediately apply for it and a decision should be taken after carrying necessary inspection.

"In event, Covid hospital is found not having NOC or not having obtained renewal, appropriate action be taken by the State," the court said.

The Union government, for its part, has directed states and Union Territories to update their respective local building bye-laws and fire services synchronising them in line of “Model Bill on maintenance of fire and emergency service, 2019”, circulated by Ministry of Home Affairs on September 16, 2019.