Khanqah-E-Moula Fire: High Court Cites Response To Illustrate Govt Lapses

Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court referred to “bad maintenance of fire fighting equipments” in Khanqah-e-Moula shrine here, which suffered damage due to a blaze last week, to illustrate what administrative lapses can cause in the state.  

Disposing of a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Ramalingam Sudhakar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed the state and the health department to enhance the medical care facilities in all the government-run hospitals and take steps to decrease the infant mortality.

In the PIL, filed in 2012, directions were sought to the Government to allocate sufficient funds to improve the health care facilities particularly of children. 

Additional Advocate General Mohammad Iqbal Dar, sought to show improvement in providing health care facilities in the state.

“We, however, feel that it is not adequate for the reasons prevailing even as on date. Be that as it may, the Government is duty bound to ensure best health care facilities to its citizens. If there is any lapse in providing the same, including the release of funds for providing best health care facilities, the Health Secretary has to take a call on the short coming in his Department,” the court said.

The court said that it was incumbent upon the government to provide the best health care facilities to all citizens, including the physically challenged, orphans, destitute.

In a welfare State, the court said that the primary duty of the Government was to provide adequate medical facilities to all the citizens. 

“We also find that there has been a lot of clamour from the citizens of the State that the facilities provided in the Government run Hospitals, are not upto the mark and they are not upgraded from time to time. Further even if it is upgraded it is not properly maintained. It is more often stated that lapse in the administration to ensure proper maintenance is the cause of most of ills that affect the department of Health services,” the court said, adding, “To cite an example the bad maintenance of fire fighting equipments has shown its colour in the recent fire incident at one of the oldest Shrine Khanqah-e-Moula Srinagar. “

The Government has to take sufficient steps not only to provide proper infrastructure but maintenance and upkeep so that all the infrastructure facilities are put to proper use and they do not rendered malfunctioned at the need of the hour, the court said further.

“As to how the medical care facilities are to be provided to children, men, and women etc. is the paramount duty of the State Government. We expect that the State Government would take all necessary steps to improve the medical services in the Government run Hospitals,” the court said and directed the state government and the Health Department to enhance the medical care facilities in all the Government run hospitals and take steps to decrease the infant mortality.

“There is no much scope for the Court to issue directions as to how the issue should be addressed. These issues can be addressed by the experts like doctors and the department concerned and we hope that they do so,” the court added. 

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