HC directs registrar general, judge to be parties in plea to convert Kolhapur court into hospital

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The Bombay High Court recently directed the registrar general and the principal district judge, Kolhapur, to be made parties in a plea seeking to use the old district and sessions court in Kolhapur as a government-run hospital for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice K.K. Tated was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Dilip Desai, a social worker, through advocates S.B. Talekar and Madhavi Ayyapan.

The PIL sought a direction for requisition of the premises of the old district and sessions court to be used as an extension of Chhatrapati Pramila Raje District Hospital, Kolhapur, to create additional isolation beds and segregate COVID-19, non-COVID-19, and suspected patients in accordance with the Disaster Management Act and the Maharashtra COVID-19 Regulations.

The plea said as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it is important to create and maintain isolation wards with a gap of at least 2,000 square feet between them. “Chhatrapati Pramila Raje District Hospital is the only district government hospital with special features accessible for the poor. The old district and sessions court is in close proximity of the hospital and shall be convenient to ensure segregation of patients.”

However, the district magistrate and president of the District Disaster Management Authority is not requistioning the said premises as per the directions of the State authority merely on the ground that the building committee of the court has refused to hand over the property, the PIL said.

“This is despite the fact that the district magistrate and president of the District Disaster Management Authority is not bound to obtain any prior permission of the owner or possessor of the property as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act,” the PIL said.

The matter will be heard on May 29.

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