Max Hospital resumes service, triggers fresh AAP-LG war

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New Delhi, Dec 20: Less than a fortnight after its licence was cancelled for declaring a live newborn as dead, the Shalimar Bagh branch of Max Hospital on Wednesday resumed services after an appellate court put on hold the Delhi government’s cancellation order, triggering a fresh war between the ruling AAP and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) insisted that the decision to suspend the licence cancellation order was taken by the Court of Finance Commissioner on the instructions of Baijal, an allegation the LG dismissed.

AAP Chief Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that Baijal had taken the decision in connivance with the BJP that rules in the Centre.

“It goes to show the extent to which the BJP is willing to stoop to in order to protect the hospital mafia, by acting through the central government-appointed Lieutenant Governor,” he said. 

“Whenever the elected government takes a strong decision against someone, the LG’s office or his delegated authorities comes to their rescue and provides succour to them.”

But the Lt. Governor distanced himself from the decision, calling AAP’s allegations “a misinformation campaign launched by vested interests”.

“The office of the Lt. Governor at no stage is/was involved in this matter,” an official statement from Baijal’s office said.

Baijal said the decision was taken by the “quasi judicial” body and its “function are performed by the Financial Commissioner, Delhi as per his/her judgment without any interference or supervision by any authority”.

The AAP government said that the appellate court was under Baijal’s control and that he was involved in taking the decision. 

The Delhi government cancelled the 250-bedded hospital’s licence on December 8 after its doctors erroneously declared a newborn dead on November 30. The baby died a week later in a city nursing home.

On Wednesday morning, Max Hospital said its operations resumed after the Court of Finance Commissioner on Tuesday put on hold the government’s December 8 order.

Within hours, AAP leader Dilip Pandey said the High Court had given the Lt. Governor all administrative powers of Delhi and that he should be held accountable for the decision. 

Pandey said the AAP wondered whether the appellate authority who stayed their government’s decision “worked for the people or for crony capitalists”. 

Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari attacked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government for “preparing a legally weak case that could not stand for a single date”. 

Tiwari accused Kejriwal of striking a secret deal with the hospital authorities that let them get away with their error. “(Kejriwal) Needs to tell Delhi what deal did he strike with the Max Hospital administration.” 

Responding to the allegations, Bharadwaj said the BJP was siding with the powerful hospital mafia. He said if Tiwari believed that there was corruption involved in the appellate authority’s decision, the AAP would back any decision to dismiss the officer.

“Is Tiwari ready for it?” he asked and added that only Lt. Governor has the power to appoint and dismiss the concerned officer.