The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Tamil Nadu government to use four floors of an eight-storey Chennai-based private hospital for treating COVID-19 patients. The Madras High Court had found the top five floors of the Billroth Hospitals Ltd illegal and ordered its demolition in 2019.
However, the apex court on June 3, 2019 had stayed the demolition of the 4th to the 8th floor of the hospital for the alleged violation of the approved building plan. It had, however, directed the hospital not to use these top five floors for any activity.
The hospital on Wednesday urged the bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde to allow the Tamil Nadu government to use certain floors for the treatment of COVID-19 patients as it needed additional in-patient beds in view of the current pandemic.
Since the demand for additional space has been made by the state of Tamil Nadu, we consider it appropriate to permit the State of Tamil Nadu to use the said floors, that is 4th to 7th floors of the building for the purpose of dealing with the pandemic. The state of Tamil Nadu may utilize the services of any agency, including the petitioner-hospital for the purpose of said treatment, said the bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy.
It asked the state government to make arrangements with the private hospital regarding doctors, nursing staff and other facilities for treating COVID-19 patients.
This order, however, will not create any rights in favour of the petitioner-hospital and have no bearing on the question of regularization of the said premises which is sought for in the petitions, the apex court said.
Senior advocate NK Kaul, appearing for the hospital, has sought permission to use these floors for COVID-19 patients saying that at least 150 beds will be allotted for such patients.
Earlier, the hospital had told the apex court that it had applied under the 2017 building regularisation scheme of Tamil Nadu for regularisation of the floors.
The hospital, having 250 beds, had said that it was operational since 2005-2006 and the authorities can decide on its application for regularisation within a month.
"For the time being we will grant stay but you will not use these floors (fourth to eighth).You had built it till the eighth floor in 2009 with impunity. You used it without any sanctioned building plan", the apex court had said.