Taking note of the inadequate medical infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court asked the high court there to improve the state-run health facilities for the benefit of the residents.
A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur told the HC to constitute a committee of medical experts to inspect public-government hospitals in the state. The order also emphasised the areas requiring immediate attention.
The committee will give its report on the availability of adequate infrastructure in government, requirement of essential equipment for treatment, availability of medical staff, essential medicines and enforcement of measures to keep the hospital clean and hygienic.
With the direction, the court disposed the state government’s petition against the J-K HC verdict that ruled government doctors cannot practice privately. The SC set aside the direction after the state contended the HC had overstepped its jurisdiction. The petition on which the HC gave its ruling was related to private teachers and not doctors, it said.
However, the top court referred the matter back to the HC and gave liberty to the petitioners to file afresh to regulate government doctors and stop them from taking up private practice.
But, on learning the abysmal condition of government hospitals in J-K, the bench entrusted the HC with the task to improve them through judicial orders.
“We are of the view that the quality of medical care in government hospitals across the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a matter which should receive attention,” the bench said.
“The hospitals which are conducted by the state and by public agencies cater to medical needs of the poorest strata of society. The need for ensuring proper medical care of a requisite standard has to be duly addressed,” the court said.
After scrutinizing the court-appointed committee’s report, the HC can call upon the officers, hear them and then issue appropriate directions. It shall also monitor compliance, the SC said.