New Delhi: During the hearing of a petition seeking instructions to provide security for doctors and healthcare workers who are vulnerable to attacks by patients’ relatives and others, the Supreme Court declared on Monday that the state and the Central governments cannot provide security to private hospitals and nursing homes, which operate like business enterprises.
Justices S.K. Kaul and A.S. Oka’s bench questioned the petitioner’s attorney on how the government would provide security for so many private hospitals and nursing homes, claiming that private hospitals charge high fees and can handle security issues on their own.
Doctors and healthcare workers are vulnerable to attacks, according to senior attorney Vijay Hansaria, who is speaking on behalf of the Delhi Medical Association. He stressed the importance of having a framework for their security.
The bench explained to Hansaria that there would be a medical centre on every street in large cities, so how could generic requests be filled?
“You can’t expect the government to put in place a security system for private players.”
The petition did not include grievances or representations made to the state governments, thus the bench requested specifics.
It was noted that the supreme court cannot dictate the level of protection that should be provided to private hospitals, nor can it micromanage security.
The bench stated that while attacks against doctors are unpleasant, they always result from systemic failures. It stated that deciding whether to provide security for a government hospital was again an executive choice and that the court should not get involved in this matter.
Given that private hospitals are commercial organisations, it was made plain that it would not give the government any instructions about the provision of security for them.
Hansaria requested permission to alter the petition, and the bench granted her request.
The DMA requested guidance on how to guarantee sufficient security at hospitals and medical facilities to stop attacks on doctors and healthcare professionals by other people and by patients’ relatives. Sneha Kalita, an attorney, filed the plea on her behalf.