The Supreme Court on Monday said the state and the Central governments cannot provide security to private hospitals and nursing homes, which operate like business enterprises, during the hearing of a plea seeking directions to provide security to doctors and healthcare workers, vulnerable to attacks by patients' relatives and others.
A bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and A.S. Oka said the private hospitals charge exorbitantly and they can take care of security issues on their own, and questioned the petitioner's counsel, how will government provide security for so many private hospitals and nursing homes?
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, representing the Delhi Medical Association, said the doctors and healthcare workers are vulnerable to attacks and emphasised on having a mechanism for their security.
The bench told Hansaria that in big cities, every lane would have a medical centre and how can it pass generic orders?
"You can't expect the government to put in place a security system for private players."
The bench sought details on complaints and representations made to the state governments as it were not included in the petition.
It observed that it is not possible for the apex court to micromanage the security and also it cannot pass directions to what kind of security should be given to the private hospitals.
The bench said the attack on doctors is unfortunate and whenever attack occurs, it is due to certain failure in system in place. It said providing security to a government hospital is again an executive decision and it is not for the court to enter into this arena.
It made it clear that it would not pass any direction to the government to provide security for private hospitals, since they are business enterprises.
Hansaria sought permission to amend the petition, which was allowed by the bench.
The DMA sought directions to ensure adequate security at hospitals and medical centres to prevent attacks on doctors and healthcare workers by relatives of patients and others. The plea was filed through advocate Sneha Kalita.