Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
Litigation News

Breaking: Delhi HC stays FIR against Ganga Ram Hospital till petition is finally decided

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today stayed all proceedings related to the FIR registered against the medical superintendent of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for allegedly not following norms pertaining to the collection of COVID-19 test samples (Sir Ganga Ram Hospital v. State).

The stay shall remain in operation till the petition to quash the FIR is finally decided by the Court.

Based on the existence of a prima facie case, balance of convenience, and possibility of irreparable loss, a Single Judge Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar said that Ganga Ram Hospital's plea for stay on the FIR deserved to be allowed.

The Court clarified that its findings are only prima facie in nature and could not be deemed to be a decision on the merits of the case.

The Court had earlier ordered a stay on the proceedings consequent to the FIR till today.

An FIR under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against the medical superintendent, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for allegedly flouting the Delhi government's order on mandatory usage of a digital platform called 'RT PCR app' for transmitting and sharing data on the collection of COVID-19 test samples.

The Hospital had explained that it was unable to transmit this data through the RT-PCR app, as it could not register on it due to operational constraints. It stated that all data was sent to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as well as the Delhi government manually through email.

The Hospital had also argued that there was neither "disobedience" nor was there any consequent obstruction, annoyance or injury to a person in terms of Section 188 IPC.

Finding favour in the Hospital's contention, the Court prima facie observed,

Section 188 is categorical in treating such disobedience as an offence only if one or more of the consequences, visualised in the Section, follow, as a result of such disobedience. The FIR does not so allege, either expressly or by necessary implication; consequently, it has to be held that the allegations in the FIR do not disclose the commission of a cognizable offence.
Delhi High Court

The FIR need not be an encyclopaedia but it must disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, the Court said.

It further noted that prior to the FIR, the communication between the Government and the Hospital did not disclose that lives were endagered ot lost as a consequence of the failure to collect samples through the RT-PCR App.

It was thus concluded,

The petitioner-Hospital is, admittedly, a frontliner, in the war against the COVID-2019 pandemic, being fought by the nation at present..A hospital, as a unit, is a cohesive whole, comprising its administration, its doctors, its paramedical staff, and every other person associated with its working, and with administering therapy to the ailing. Allowing investigation, consequent on the impugned FIR, to be undertaken, at this stage, on the basis of a perceived distinction between the hospital, and the doctors working therein..would, in my view, be severely detrimental to public interest, especially as there is nothing in the FIR to suggest that the petitioner-Hospital has, in any way, impeded its doctors in treating patients suffering from the COVID-2019 pandemic, which is of paramount importance.
Delhi High Court

The stay application qua the FIR and subsequent proceedings was accordingly allowed.

During the course of the proceedings, the Hospital was represented by Senior Advocates Rupinder Singh Suri and Sidharth Luthra, along with Advocates Rohit K Aggarwal and Gunjan Sinha Jain of Suri & Company,

State was represented by Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra, Additional, Standing Counsel Rajesh Mahajan and Advocate Chaitanya Gosain.

The matter will be heard next on August 11.

Read the Order:

Ganga Ram hospital interim order.pdf
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