The Delhi government has told the Delhi High Court that an operational licence can be given for the 150-bed multi-speciality hospital which was closed down due to insolvency resolution process against its parent company, if it has all the requisite infrastructure in place. The Delhi government said however that it cannot bear the expenditure or provide logistical support for running the hospital as a COVID-19 centre as its resources -- manpower, medicines and equipment -- were already "stretched thin" in operating its own hospitals.
The submission has been made on an affidavit filed through Delhi government standing counsel Santosh K Tripathi who said the licence can be granted if the court so directs and if the hospital -- Febris Multispeciality Hospital -- is in compliance with the parameters given in the Delhi Nursing Homes Registration Act.
The affidavit has been filed pursuant to the court questioning the logic behind the Delhi government's decision not to use the 150-bed multi-speciality hospital when its services and that of its medical team were being offered by the doctor who established it.
The court, on May 6, had exhorted the Delhi government to "think out of the box" in view of the severe second wave of COVID-19 pandemic as "we are not in normal times" and there was a shortage of beds for patients in the national capital.
"150 beds are there. We are struggling to find beds everyday. We are fighting for it everyday and you are saying you will not touch it (hospital).
We do not understand the logic here," a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh had said.
The court had further said, "The water has already gone over our heads. He (petitioner-doctor) is offering his hospital, he is ready to bring in his medical team, what else can you ask for?"
In its affidavit, the Delhi government has said that the hospital had stopped submitting their monthly and quarterly reports despite several reminders in 2018 and 2019.
"That the Government Liaison Officer posted in the hospital informed this Directorate General of Health Services that no nursing home activities are being carried out in the said premises.
"Pursuant thereto, a notice to show cause dated February 24, 2020, was issued by this Directorate, which was returned undelivered. The said notice to show cause was also sent vide email dated August 14, 2020," it has said.
The government has said that since there was no response to the show-cause notice from the hospital management, the registration of Febris Hospital was cancelled in September last year.
"That furthermore, it is respectfully submitted that the issue of control of the said hospital as well as its assets statutorily already falls within the sole purview of the Resolution Professional appointed under the Insolvency and Banking Code, 2016.
"Consequently, it is most humbly submitted that he may thus continue to exercise his legitimate jurisdiction over the same in accordance with law and in compliance with any direction that this court may deem fit to pass in the light of the peculiar facts of the instant case," the government has said.
The affidavit has been filed in response to a plea by Rakesh Saxena seeking permission to operate the Febris Multispeciality Hospital to cater to COVID-19 patients in the national capital during the prevailing pandemic.
Saxena, who set up Febris Multispeciality Hospital under the parent company Durha Vitrak Pvt Ltd, said that considering the serious situation in the national capital -- grappling with a huge surge in COVID-19 infections and shortage of beds, oxygen and medicines -- his hospital be used to help people.
He has said the Centre or Delhi government can take over the hospital closed since 2019 and use the facilities there for COVID-19 patients.
In his petition, he has urged the court to direct renewal of the license of the hospital in view of the prevailing emergent situation on the ground.
The corporate insolvency resolution process was initiated against the company on an application filed before the National Company Law Tribunal by the LIC Housing Finance Ltd, a creditor of Durha Vitrak Pvt Ltd.
(With PTI inputs)