Funds row: HC orders Wadia Hospital to hold special board meetingUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 23:54 IST
Expressing displeasure over the meeting between chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray and chief trustee of Wadia Hospital trust, the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday said the issues related to the funding of the two hospitals at Parel cannot be resolved in closed-door meetings, and directed them to convene a special meeting of its board of directors to resolve the issue.
“What does the political boss (chief minister) have to do with this,” the division bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice RI Chagla asked. “Why hold these closed-door meetings? Say whatever you want to say in the open. We will not allow such closed-door meetings,” it added.
The comments came after advocate Girish Godbole, representing the state, informed the bench that recently the chief trustee of the trust met the CM and discussed the issues faced by the hospitals at Parel – Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital and Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children. Godbole said there were three main issues being faced by the hospitals and those can be resolved amicably.
The judges suggested both the state government and the Brihanmumai Municipal Corporation (BMC) send one of their senior officials for the special board meeting.
Godbole responded by saying that the court should allow the government to appoint an independent, third-party auditor for auditing the accounts of the hospitals. “If everything is transparent, as claimed by the hospital, there can’t be any opposition to this,” said the lawyer, and added, “We will also take a call whether to modify the trust deed.”
The court, however, refused to allow the government to reopen old accounts.
While the hospital claimed ₹89.61 crore was the outstanding dues of the government, Godbole said that ₹24.31 crore was due and payable, of which ₹24 crore has now been paid. He informed the bench that ₹24 crore was transferred to the hospital’s account on Friday morning.
With regards to payments by BMC, senior counsel Rafiq Dada, who represented the hospital, said whereas the civic body is supposed to pay ₹19.86 crore every quarter, they have been paying only ₹10.61 crore, thus leading to a deficit of ₹9.25 crore each quarter.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO, Association for Aiding Justice, seeking directions to ensure proper working of the hospitals.