Chennai: The Madras High Court has rejected a
plea by a Tamil Nadu-based private hospital to quash a state
government order debarring it from conducting cataract
operations under a national programme, following 66 persons
going blind in an eye camp organised by it in 2008.
Dismissing the petition filed by the Tiruchirapalli eye
hospital, Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar said "unless and until
the petitioner hospital is exonerated from the criminal
allegation, it has no right to demand permission to conduct
cataract surgeries under the National Programme for Control
On May 11 this year, the state Health and Welfare department
had debarred the hospital from participating in the programme.
The Judge pointed out CBI, which probed the matter, in its
preliminary report had found a prima facie case. Hence "the
debarment of the petitioner hospital from conducting cataract
operations cannot be found fault with," the judge said.
The hospital, started in 1934 to `render sustainable
and affordable eye care services to the poor and under
privileged sections`, had conducted eye operations in 21
districts of the state and had been conducting 35,000
surgeries every year.
It had three satellite units at Ariyalur, Perambalur
and Karur. The Perambalur unit had organised an eye camp in
2008 at which 66 persons belonging to two villages of
Villupuram district had lost their sight.
Following a PIL seeking compensation to the victims, the
High Court had directed the CBI to investigate the matter.
A case had been registered against the hospital management,
three doctors, office-bearers of Perambalur District Blindness
Control Society and some unidentified government employees.
They have been charged with acting in a rash and negligent
manner endangering human life and under the Prevention of