Appearing for the state, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the court that the draft plan for such a law was already in place, and the government was in the process of finalising some amendments to it.
He stated, “Some doctors and other members of the medical community had some objections and suggestions. A committee was formed to consider these objections and suggestions, and to amend the draft plan accordingly. The committee will finalise the draft plan in about three weeks, after which it will be ready to be placed before the state assembly.”
The submissions were made before a bench of justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Pune resident Atul Bhosale.
In the PIL, it was claimed that several nursing homes and hospitals in Maharashtra were operating in violation of rules and without valid licenses.
Around 6,000 private nursing homes and hospitals were found to be operating without valid licenses, and in violation of various other provisions of the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Regulation Act 2006.
The advocate general told the court that the state had taken action, such as sealing of nursing homes and even sending some doctors and staff to judicial custody.
According to the plea, currently, under the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Regulation Act 2006, if found running a nursing home illegally, one has to pay a fine of up to Rs 10,000.The union government’s Clinical Establishments Act has more stringent provisions, including criminal prosecution under the IPC for those running such establishments, and a fine of Rs 25,000.
The bench has accepted the state’s submission that on the next date of hearing, it will submit greater details of the draft plan and of the action taken against the illegal nursing homes under the existing 2006 Act.