Expressing deep concern over mushroom growth of private hospitals, a four member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Punjab government to conduct comprehensive survey of all private hospital in Punjab and furnish a detailed report within two weeks about functioning of these hospitals. The court also sought minutes of meetings held by Punjab assembly's standing committee to finalize draft of a health care bill. Bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmad, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali passed this order while hearing an appeal in case of minor Imanae Malik, who was died
due to doctors' negligence at Doctors Hospital. Hospital had sought deletion of section 302 PPC and court had raised many issues of public importance.
The judges expressed concern over pathetic condition of the hospitals as well as government hospitals in Punjab and lack of statutory law to regulate functioning of private hospitals.
Visibly annoyed over the performance of Punjab government in health sector, the judges remarked that no concrete steps had been taken to avoid such incident in future as Punjab government had not evolved a clear-cut policy to deal with menace of private hospitals.
"No one is stopping the mushroom growth of private hospitals. Had government been taken the issue seriously, it should have not waited for assembly to lay a piece of legislation on the issue rather thrown caution to wind by introducing a law through an ordinance", said justice Javed Iqbal, head of the bench.
"Government hospitals are presenting even bad picture where poor people are dying in agony as no one is caring them at all", the judge continued. On court's query, Additional Advocate General Punjab Hanif Khatana replied that health care bill was under consideration and would soon be tabled in the Provincial Assembly. The court observed that case was heard on December 30 but no law has been promulgated in three months.
The court also sought personal appearance of secretary health Punjab, SSP Investigation, Attorney General, Prosecutor general on the next date of hearing and adjourned the matter for two weeks. The court also called a representatives of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council(PMDC) to appraise the court as why the licenses of the doctors, who were involved in death of Imanae Malik, were not cancelled. As the proceedings started on Wednesday, counsel for Doctors Hospital Talib Rizvi requested the court that since the matter relating to addition of Section 302 PPC stood resolved police had submitted a challan in trial court after excluding section 302. The court agreed with him and disposed of the case to the extent of section 302 as Rizvi had approached SC for deletion of murder provisions.
"There should be some difference between a doctor and butcher but at present both are on killing spree. Doctor don't feel fear of the God as 80 per cent doctors working in government hospitals are running their private hospitals", judges said angrily. The bench said 17 judges could not solve the problems of 170 million people but they could only ensure that all state organs including
executive and legislature perform their job properly. Justice Iqbal again remarked that death of minor girl had triggered a wave of panic among the people. He wondered that a minor girl was injected to death in one of the biggest hospitals of the city but it was still working. Why was it not shut? he questioned. Mohammad Azhar Siddique advocate on behalf of Aqeel Malik submitted that on December 30 SC had formulated many questions, which had to answer in the public interest.
Aqeel Malik with his wife and members of civil society were also present in the Court. He submitted that more than 200 complaints were pending against the Doctors Hospital. Justice Javed Iqbal observed that instead of such complaint, why this hospital is running. We are concerned about the lives of common people and must preserve their lives. The Court also directed the outcome of these complaints should also be brought in the knowledge of the court on next hearing. On November 29, Imanae Malik was administered wrong injections by Doctors Hospital that caused her death.
Chief Justice LHC took suo motu notice of Imanae's murder and constituted a Judicial inquiry committee to investigate the case. Later CJ instructed police to add section 302 PPC to the FIR. On December 10 last Doctors Hospital filed a writ petition against the CM's committee's inquiry report. On Dec 30 Supreme Court heard the case and referred it to larger bench which ordered police investigate case without being influenced by LHC's order about addition of section 302.
Aqeel Malik had also filed a private complaint against the doctors which is pending in the court of additional sessions judge Abid Rizwan Abid.
Details of earlier proceedings
The Doctors Hospital (Pvt.) Ltd. etc. filed leave to appeal CPSLA No. 2510/L/2009 which was heard by Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Mr. Justice M.A. Shahid Siddique, Judges of the Supreme court of Pakistan at Lahore on 30-12-2009. Their Lordships were pleased to take note of the absence of Regulatory mechanism in respect of certain minimum standard of quality of services etc. and granted leave to consider.
(a) Whether the lack of proper regulatory mechanism to monitor the working of privately run hospital is violative of Article 9 of the Constitution?
(b) Whether is it not in accord with the mandate of the afore-referred constitutional provision to put in place an institution of Accreditation Board which should have the power to grant or refuse accreditation to hospitals to ensure that no one is allowed to open a hospital without the qualified physicians and surgeons, the requisite staff and equipments?
(c) Whether is it not in the interest of public safety that before accreditation is granted to hospitals, they should declare their scope of working, i.e., whether it is a Cardiac Hospital, Cancer Hospital, Outdoor Hospital and whether it can provide Emergency Services and the said Accreditation Board before granting the requisite licenses should see that the proposed hospital meet the minimum standards required to run such a hospital?
(d) Whether the functions of the afore-referred Accreditation Board can be entrusted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan or the said functions can be perform by a Medical University or a Consortium of such Universities?
(e) Whether the provision in the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council Act for the grant of licences is sufficient to ensure that the objects of the said Act are achieved or whether a regulatory mechanism requiring periodical renewal of such licences by a Board of Peers on the basis
of laid down criteria is imperative?
(f) Whether in the face of the findings of the three inquiry reports holding the doctors and staff of duty to be responsible for the death cause, can the petition-Hospital be held vicariously liable and
burdened with special costs to be given to the complainant?
(g) Since public safety is one of the fundamental duties of the State and as the State failed to provide any regulatory mechanism or institutional safeguards with regard to private hospitals, can it be burdened with special costs as the death of complainant’s daughter was partly attributable to this lapse on the part of the State?
(h) Whether the learned High Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 199 can direct the investigation Officer to add a particular Section notwithstanding the fact that the matter was still
On 29th Nov 09 Imanae Malik was administered wrong injections by Doctors Hospital. FIR was filed the same day and autopsy was also done. On 3rd Dec 09 CM announced a formation of a committee to investigate the case and on the same day Chief justice Lahore Khawaja Shareef took suo moto action of Imanae’s murder, He also constituted a Judicial inquiry committee to investigate the case.
On 17th Dec 09 Chief Justice Lahore Khawaja Shareef heard the case and instructed to add section 302 to the FIR. Judicial inquiry committee presented its inquiry report to LHC.
On 10th Dec 09 Doctors Hospital filed a writ petition against the CM’s committee’s inquiry report. On 30th Dec 09 Supreme Court Lahore Registry heard the case and referred it to larger bench.
On 11th Jan 10 LHC heard the case again in which SSP investigation presented its findings, 9 persons of doctors hospital were named for conviction.
On 14th of January 2010 Dr. Faiza Asghar and Dr. Khalid Hameed had withdrawn bail before arrest from the court of Attique Ur Rehman Bhinder.
Fahmida Sanaullah, nurse got post arrest bail on 13th of January 2010 from the Court of Magistrate Sahir Islam, Model Town, Lahore. Zia Ul Hassan Bukhari, General Manager got post arrest bail on 13th of January 2010 from the Court of Magistrate Sahir Islam, Model Town, Lahore, while Dr. Sana Ullah got post arrest bail in the month of January 2010. While bail before arrest of Dr. Javaid Asghar, Dr. Syed Ghazanfar Ali shah and Dr. Tariq Rafique were confirmed by the Additional Session Judge, Lahore Syed Amjad Ali Shah on 6th of February 2010. Dr. Ghulam Yaseen bail was dismissed by the same court on 6.2.2010 and the Honourable High Court of Lahore judge, Mr. Waqar Hassan Meer dismissed bail before arrest on 26th February 2010. He was arrested by
allowed bail after arrest from the Court of Mr. Sahir Islam, Magistrate, Model Town, Lahore on 4th March 2010.
On 3rd Feb 10 we filed a private complaint in the court of Mr. Sahir Islam, Magistrate Model Town, Lahore who on the point of jurisdiction refereed the matter to session court and the case was entrusted to Mr. Abid Rizwan Abid, Additional Session Judge, Lahore for 15th February 2010 and now the next date of hearing is 7th of April 2010 before Mr. Waseem Akhtar, Additional Session Judge, Lahore.