The chamber judge, however, did not pass any decision on the High Court's order to take action under the Criminal Code against those involved in negligence in treating general patients in the ongoing situation
The chamber judge of the Appellate Division on Tuesday stayed seven of the 10 points of the directive the High Court had earlier issued to ensure the treatment of patients coming to hospitals and clinics during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he did not issue any directive on the High Court's order for action to be taken under the Penal Code against those involved in negligence in treating general patients in the ongoing situation.
The court said that under Section 304 of the Penal Code, any victim can sue anyone for negligence.
Justice Mohammad Nuruzzaman passed the order upon an appeal by the health ministry and the health directorate seeking a stay of the High Court order.
The three orders still in force are:
Asking the health ministry and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to file a report with the court by June 30 on whether the directives issued by the DGHS for ensuring treatment of non-Covid-19 patients at all private hospitals and private clinics were being followed properly.
The High Court had also ordered monitoring to ensure that Covid-19 patients were not charged exorbitantly or irrationally by private hospitals for ICU facilities.
It had ordered the authorities concerned to fix the price of oxygen cylinders.
According to the High Court, retailers will have to display the retail price list of oxygen cylinders and refilling costs in their shops or businesses, the court said, adding that the authorities concerned may consider stopping retail sale of oxygen cylinders without doctor's prescriptions and identities of patients to prevent any artificial crisis of oxygen cylinders.
The court asked the commerce ministry and the consumer rights department to strengthen monitoring of the supply and sale of oxygen cylinders.
The points of the High Court order the chamber court stayed include submitting a report to the court on whether any disciplinary action has been taken so far against persons or authorities for failing to comply with government directives, sending to the court a list of private hospitals and clinics with more than 50 beds and making ICU management activities more accountable.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said at the hearing that the court could not interfere in the activities of the executive branch of the state in such ways. The order passed by the High Court in the wake of such a writ petition filed in the public interest in this ongoing coronavirus situation was beyond its jurisdiction, he argued.
He said no victim had filed a writ petition here, but there was great enthusiasm among those who had moved the writ petition.
Opposing the stay petition, Barrister Anik R Haque said at the hearing that there was no barrier to filing such a writ petition in the public interest. At the same time, the instructions given by the health directorate to the private hospitals and clinics for the treatment of non-Covid patients on May 11 had not been properly complied with.
He said private hospitals and clinics had turned away 57 non-Covid patients across the country from May 11 to June 13. None of the victims were in a position to come to court. As a result, a writ petition had been filed in the public interest.
A virtual High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim passed the 10-point directive on June 15 in the wake of three separate writ petitions filed by five lawyers.
At the same time, the High Court had said that if someone died in a hospital without treatment, it would be a criminal offense.