LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC) Sunday banned the commercialisation of all sorts of properties in the city.
The bench hinted at forming a larger bench for hearing the matter and observed that commercialisation policy could be struck down. The court also sought all record from the authority in this regard on an urgent basis.
The two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan passed these orders while hearing a suo motu notice regarding overcharging, lack of facilities, negligence on the part of private hospitals.
The bench took notice of the commercialisation issue after it was pointed out that some city hospitals had violated the LDA rules and residential areas were being used without getting approval from the authority.
The bench expressed its deep concern over irregular commercialisation being carried out in the city, saying that residential areas were being changed to commercial ones.
Earlier, representatives/ CEOs of major private hospitals – Doctors Hospital, Hameed Latif Hospital, Surgimed Hospital, Umar Hospital, and others – appeared before the bench on being summoned and submitted their price lists for services being provided by them.
They submitted that they were providing healthcare facilities at cheaper rates than other countries.
The LDA director general, who was also present in the court, apprised the bench about various irregularities committed by some hospitals.
Secretary EPA also informed the bench that many hospitals situated near drains had not sought the EPA permission.
The chief justice observed that if private hospitals could not provide medical treatment at reasonable rates then they should be closed. Even mineral water bottles were being sold at higher rates in hospitals, he added.
The chief justice observed that the owners of private hospitals charge patients over Rs 100,000 to implant stents despite the court orders about charging patients reasonably.
He remarked that the court did not want to close down their businesses, but hospitals should also mend their ways; otherwise, the court would issue its order.
The chief justice remarked that private hospitals could not be given unlimited freedom.
Subsequently, the bench adjourning the further hearing asked the EPA and the LDA for reports besides stopping commercialisation.