Over 10,000 nursing homes running from residential areas of the National Capital got a major relief on Tuesday after the Supreme Court suspended a Delhi High Court judgement ordering their closure for violating local building by-laws.
The interim order came from a vacation bench headed by Justice Markandey Katju on a petition filed by Delhi Medical Association (DMA) and some nursing home owners challenging the April 25 order of the high court.
The bench also sought response to the petition from the Delhi Government.
The HC had dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by the DMA and nursing homes against a 1992 amendment to the Delhi Nursing Home Rules.
The amendment made it mandatory for nursing homes seeking registration to adhere to land use norms.
It ordered the immediate closure of nursing homes that were operating without valid registration for years and did not comply with norms under the Master Plan 2021 and other statues.
The HC had also given liberty to authorities concerned to take action against nursing homes that applied for registration
but had not been granted permission, in accordance with its order.
The HC had given the nursing homes six months to shut down business.
The petitioners contended that if implemented, the HC order would result in a large number of nursing homes closing down their operations in Delhi, causing considerable hardship to the common people.
They said if the HC order was to be complied with, it would necessitate every nursing home being forced to construct kitchens and bedrooms even in operation theatres.
"It is obvious that a nursing home cannot have large kitchens or bedrooms or for that matter windows in operation theatres/ICUs, labs as also in labour rooms, maternity etc," the petition said.
The building by-laws ordered to be complied with by the HC would not apply to nursing homes as they were governed by a special law i.e. Delhi Nursing Homes Registration Act, 1953, the petitioners said.