Coming down heavily on authorities, the Madras High Court has directed the Health Secretary to consider the case of a 75-year-old man who lost his eyesight allegedly due to negligence of doctors and staff of the Egmore Government Ophthalmic Hospital, and award suitable compensation.
The court in its order last week found fault with authorities with the way they have treated the elderly man’s representation seeking suitable compensation.
“Every time the petitioner’s representation was forwarded to one authority or another, the petitioner has been following it by personally visiting them and requesting them to take a decision on his request,” the court said.
“The inaction on the part of the authorities in giving a reply to the representation from the year 2009 onwards amounts to clear dereliction of the duty on the part of all the authorities,” it said.
It directed the Health Secretary to appoint a suitable officer to probe the cause of delay by respective authorities in giving a reply to the petitioner’s representation which was given to the Chief Minister’s Cell on June 2, 2009.
“The inquiry should be completed within a period of 12 weeks from the date of receipt of this order and a copy of the report should also be marked to the petitioner.”
The court said the petitioner has been unnecessarily forced to file a petition by engaging a private counsel and incurring legal fees and expenses for obtaining a direction to respondents to perform the ordinary duties of their office.
“If the representation is not disposed of within a reasonable time, by a government authority, the Authority who has contributed to the delay is answerable to the same. Taking into consideration, the various responsibilities of a government servant, the reasonable time to consider any representation application can be specifically determined as ‘3 months’,” the court said.
The court said the petitioner has not been furnished till date information about the name of doctors who performed the surgery. “Even this information has not been furnished by the Superintendent of the Eye Hospital to the petitioner till date. This fact should also be taken into account by the Health Secretary…”
“…. if the Health Secretary is of the view that there is a prima facie negligence on the part of any doctor/hospital staff, necessary action should be initiated against them,” the court said.
The petitioner had lost his eye sight in an operation that was performed on December 27, 2007.
( Source – PTI )