Delhi HC upholds government order fixing Rs 20,000 minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals

The Delhi High Court, on the 24th of July, 2019 upheld the judgment given by a single judge bench Justice C. Hari Shankar, in the case of Association of Healthcare Providers (India) v. of NCT of Delhi stating the minimum wages to be provided to the in city hospitals as Rs. 20,000 p.m., including the hospitals with less than 50 beds.

This order was led by Aam Aadmi Party (), once a ruling party in Delhi. In its decision, the government decision also stated that the failure of compliance of the order would result in a strict action and the defaulter hospital or nursing home would be liable to cancellation of registration.

The petitioner, in his claim contended that the recommendation could be implemented only by means of legislation. It also stated that the recommendations of the expert panel were “unreasoned” as there was no requirement of new guidelines at this point when several legislations were already in force.

The court, in its decision stated that the cancellation of registration would be too drastic a step and would have serious consequences not only on the part of hospitals but also the patients. Thus, it deemed that it would be appropriate to direct that the cancellation of the registration of any defaulting hospital/nursing home should be kept in abeyance till the defaulting hospital/nursing home is given an opportunity of personal hearing in that regard.

Justice C. Hari Shankar rejected the challenge of an association representing private hospitals and nursing homes against the June 25 order of the Delhi government’s Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), where it had asked medical institutions to implement the expert panel’s recommendation within three months.

It was also stated by the court that “It would be open to the hospital/nursing home, to take all available defences, against any proposal to cancel its registration, including the defence of whether such cancellation could be effected, given the provision of Delhi Nursing Homes Regulation Act, on the sole ground of failure, on the part of the hospital/nursing home, to comply with the recommendations of the Expert Committee, in respect of nurses working in its establishment,”.

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed and the order along with minimum wages for nurses in private hospital was upheld.

The High Court backed the government decision & said the time (of three months) for implementation or enforcement of the order would start immediately. It however, also gave the defaulting private hospitals limited protection from cancellation of their registration by directing the DGHS to give them a hearing before taking any action.

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