The Bombay High Court has recently directed the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) in Maharashtra to seal all private hospitals and nursing homes that were operating without a no objection certificate (NOC) from the state fire department.
The HC was ruling on a public interest litigation claiming a survey by the Thane Fire Department earlier this year revealed that more than 50 percent of private hospitals and nursing homes in the district of Thane did not have safety equipment to deal with fire incidents.
An affidavit filed by TMC’s counsel stated that although the civic body’s health department renewed the registration of over 380 hospitals last year, only 181 hospitals were issued a NOC from the Fire Department.
Around 129 nursing homes and hospitals have already filed applications seeking NOCs, while the remaining 70 did not have it and continued to operate in violation of the fire safety norms, according to the affidavit.
The Thane fire brigade had initiated a safety audit at all private hospitals in the city in response to the fire at ESIC hospital in Mumbai in December last year, which caused the death of 11 people.
The court said that since the TMC already had records of all hospitals and nursing homes violating the fire safety norms, it must initiate action, according to an agency report.