Ex-Judge appointed as mediator in hospital-BMC dispute

Updated: Jun 22, 2012, 21:02 PM IST

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today appointed former High Court judge V P Tipnis as a mediator in a dispute between super specialty hospital Seven Hills Healthcare Pvt Ltd (SHHPL) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over free treatment to the poor and other issues.

A bench comprising Justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkal urged Justice Tipnis to hear the parties and settle the dispute between the two sides.

SHHPL has filed a petition challenging the notices issued by BMC asking the hospital to vacate the nearly seven-acre premises allotted to them in suburban Marol.

The civic body has been at loggerheads with the hospital management over 20 per cent reservation of beds for poor and needy patients. In November last, the court had asked the corporation to grant an NOC to the hospital to mortgage its building, to acquire additional loan from banks.

On last occasion, the hospital informed the court that the NOC issued by the corporation imposed severe conditions which created further obstacles.

In February, the court directed BMC to issue a fresh NOC. However, senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond, appearing for the hospital, informed the court during last hearing that the fresh NOC had the same conditions as the earlier one.

"By imposing these conditions, you (BMC) are inviting contempt of court. It seems that someone does not want it (unconditional NOC) to happen," Justice Bobade had remarked.

Earlier, SHHPL had contended that it was ready to construct a separate wing with 300 beds and hand it over to the corporation as a part of its condition to reserve some beds for the poor patients. The civic body is yet to take a decision on the hospital`s proposal to do so.

The hospital has argued that it was free to provide 20 per cent beds free of cost to the poor but it would not be able to provide consumable items like stents free of charge. However, the civic body has insisted that free 20 per cent beds, includes free treatment and medicines.