New Delhi: The Delhi government order cancelling the licence of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, has been stayed by an appellate body, following which the facility resumed its operations on Wednesday.

The licence cancellation case pertains to the premature twins, one of whom (a baby boy) was wrongly declared dead on 30 November at the hospital in north-west Delhi where he was born, and who died during treatment at a nursing home in Pitampura a week later.

Both the babies were declared stillborn by the hospital and handed over to the family allegedly in a polythene bag. But to their utter horror, they found that the boy was still alive, while they were on way to do their final rites.

The case triggered an outrage, prompting the AAP government’s health department to cancel its licence on 8 December for alleged medical negligence.

The court of financial commissioner stayed the cancellation order issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) till the next hearing, 9 January, according to its order issued on Tuesday, a copy of which has been accessed by the PTI.

The hospital group had on 13 December filed an appeal in the financial commissioner’s court against the cancellation of the licence of its hospital. “The operation of impugned order is stayed till the next date of hearing. Fixed for arguments on provision of Section 8 (2) & 8 (4) of the Act (Delhi Nursing Home Registration Act, 1953)," the financial commissioner has said in the order.

The petitioner’s lawyers submitted before the court of financial commissioner that under the provisions of the said act, no such orders shall come into force until after the expiration of a calender month from the date on which it was made. Or where notice of appeal is given against it, until the appeal has been decided or withdrawn.

According to the financial commissioner’s order, the counsel for the DGHS submitted that the cancellation order was passed under Section 7 and not Section 8 (2) of the Act. Section 7 of the act says the supervising authority may at any time cancel the registration of a person in respect of any nursing home on any ground which would entitle it to refuse an application for the registration of that person in respect of that home. Or on the ground that the person has been convicted of an offence under this act or that any other person has been convicted of such an offence in respect of that home.

The financial commissioner is a statutory post and the incumbent exercises the powers of the Lt governor or chief commissioner, delegated under various statutes, according to details on the website of the financial commissioner.

Earlier in the day, Max Healthcare issued a statement, claiming, “Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, has resumed its operations from today, following a stay order issued by the appropriate appellate authority to whom an appeal was made." The stay order triggered a war of words between the AAP and the BJP with mutual allegations of “deals" with the healthcare group to protect it.

Ruling AAP also dragged the lieutenant governor into the controversy, saying his role in “protecting" Max Hospital has “clearly been established". AAP’s Delhi unit chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said in a press conference that the finance commissioner is appointed by the LG and exercises powers delegated to him. “The role of the BJP Central government-appointed LG in protecting Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, has clearly been established," he said.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari too hit back at the AAP government, asking it whether there was any “deal" which was why cancellation of hospital’s licence was stayed by its officer. The LG office in a statement said a “misinformation campaign" was launched with “vested interests" over the issue. “The office of Lt governor at no stage is involved in this matter," it said.

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