Rashid Paul

HC directs reconsideration of permission for 50 bed AYUSH Hospital at Harvan

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed that the permission for construction of the 50 bed government AYUSH Hospital at Harvan city suburb requires to be reconsidered by a speaking order.

The under-construction hospital had been sealed by the court for “violating” regulations on preservation of water-bodies in Kashmir.

The court opined that the matter as to whether the application of the department for grant of permission stands granted and the construction of the AYUSH Hospital is in accordance with the sanctioned map (if any) requires to be considered afresh by a speaking order.

“The reconsideration shall be uninfluenced by any finding or observation recorded by the court, whereupon it will be open for the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) to take appropriate action either under Section 7 or Section 8 of the Act in accordance with law,” it said.

The court was hearing a PIL on preservation of water-bodies, wherein a court direction prevented the construction of an important public health institution.

An application by the Director Indian Systems of Medicines (ISM), J&K, sought revision of the 2015 court order that directed sealing of the hospital for allegedly not following the due process of law.

In 2010, the then state administration had transferred state land measuring about 15 kanals of the Estate Harwan, Srinagar (North) in favor of Health & Medical Education Department for establishing an ISM hospital.

A detailed project report was sanctioned and approved for the construction of the hospital at a cost of Rs. 677.43 lakhs. Accordingly, the department applied to the LAWDA in 2013 for granting permission for its construction.

However, LAWDA sat over the application and the ISM took advantage of the Rule 7 (iii) of the Control of Building Operation Regulations 2001.

The rule says that on the expiry of 90 days from the date of application and completion of requisite formalities, the permission shall be deemed to have been granted. The hospital building was accordingly constructed. It is now almost complete, except its interiors.

On October 14, 2015, an order was passed by the High Court which held the construction of the AYUSH Hospital as “unauthorized” and directed to “attach and seal all structures, buildings” erected allegedly in violation of the Master Plan.

B A Dar, senior additional advocate general of J&K argued that the sealing of the hospital is “unjustified, more particularly when it has been passed behind the back of the department”.

It is mentionable that the court in passing the attachment order had banked up on a report by the Court Vigilance Commissioner which said that the construction of the AYUSH Hospital was unauthorized.

The court while hearing the matter today observed that except for the Commissioner’s report, there is no other material to hold that the hospital was constructed illegally without any sanction from the LAWDA. There is no allegation that the constructions are in violation of the Master Plan or any order of the court, it said.

There appears to be no independent application of mind by the LAWDA either to hold that the constructions to be illegal or without permission, it said.

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