Bombay HC orders structural audit of Prince Aly Khan Hospital by experts

bombay hc orders structural audit of prince aly khan hospital by experts

Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court has asked the management of Prince Aly Khan Hospital, Mazgaon to seek a structural audit report from experts of IIT-Bombay or Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) to ascertain whether the structure is in a dilapidated condition and needs to be demolished.

The bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and Kamal Khata was hearing a plea by the hospital management seeking demolition of the 70-year-old hospital structure.

The hospital management told the bench that the hospital had conducted an independent structural audit through SR Mahimtura Structural Consulting Engineer which found the building dilapidated and unsafe for occupancy. Following this, last month, the hospital had discharged all its patients and decided to shut its in-patient admissions and surgeries after an independent structural audit found that the main building was unsafe for occupancy.

The hospital management also told the court that the civic body had reserved the said land for school so the employees of the hospital raised a concern that if the hospital is demolished, it could not be rebuilt due to the reservation.

Advocate Rafique Dada appearing for the hospital management submitted that because of this fear, some employees were admitting patients to the dilapidated building, causing danger to the lives of patients and staff members. It was only for this reason that the management was constrained to move the court.

During an earlier hearing, the court had directed the civic authority Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to verify the correctness of the independent structural audit by the petitioners and to certify whether the hospital building falls in the C-1 (dangerous, dilapidated and needing demolition) category or not. It had directed the petitioners or any member of staff not to admit any patients in the hospital building till BMC submits its report.

The BMC in its September 30 affidavit said that on visual inspection it was not in a position to ascertain whether the building was in dilapidated condition. Dada submitted that the BMC report was not conclusive and the concern of management was that, despite the shutdown ordered, the staff continued to take diagnostic tests and in the event of any untoward incident occurring due to delay in demolishing the building, the hospital management should not be held responsible.

The employees’ union also sought to intervene and be heard in a plea stating that due to the BMC reservation for the land, their future was in jeopardy and therefore their rights and employment should be protected in case demolition order was to be passed.

After perusing submissions, the bench said it was not getting into the issues raised by employees and BMC reservation of the plot and suggested that either IIT-B or VJTI should be asked to conduct a structural audit to ascertain whether the building is dilapidated.

The hearing of the case was adjourned beyond the Diwali vacation and will be heard on November 14.

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