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C. HOSPTIAL versus STATE

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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C. Hosptial v. State - WRIT - C No. 21453 of 1986 [2007] RD-AH 9129 (14 May 2007)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

   Court No.28

Writ Petition No.21453 of 1986

Christian Hospital, Azamgarh.              ..............................................Petitioner

Versus.

State of U.P. and another.                             .................................Respondents.

.........

Hon'ble Tarun Agarwala, J.

The petitioner is a hospital, known as Christian Hospital Azamgarh, which is a charitable institution and is governed by its Managing Committee under the Church of Northern India Diocese of Lucknow which is registered under the Societies Registration Act. One of the aims and object of the hospital is to make available to the public, irrespective of race, caste, religion, creed or social conditions, the facility of a hospital and its community health services centre in the field of curative and preventive care and to provide training programme for doctors, nurses, midwives, etc.

It transpires that the labour inspector made an inspection, and thereafter, issued a notice to the hospital indicating that pursuant to the notification dated 6.8.1984, the hospital was covered under the Minimum Wages Act, and therefore, the petitioner was required to comply with the Minimum Wages Act and to pay, the minimum wages, to its employees. The petitioner filed a reply and submitted that even though, the Hospital, was paying the minimum wages to its employees and would continue to do so, nonetheless, the notification dated 6.8.1984  was only applicable to a clinic and was not applicable to a hospital. The petitioner, being a hospital, and not a private clinic could not be included in the notification dated 6.8.1984. The prescribed authority, by the impugned order dated 28.2.1986, rejected the contention of the petitioner and held that the notification dated 6.8.1984 was applicable upon the petitioner and that the petitioner was liable to pay the minimum wages to its employees. The prescribed authority held that only a State Government runs a hospital and private parties do not run a hospital and that they operate only a private clinic, and therefore, the petitioner was covered by the notification of 6.8.1984.

The petitioner, being aggrieved by the aforesaid order, has filed the present writ petition.  

Heard Sri J.P. Singh, the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Standing Counsel for the State.

The moot question which arises for consideration is, whether the petitioner is covered under the notification dated 6.8.1984 or not and, whether a private clinic could include a hospital or not ?

The State Government, in exercise of the powers contemplated under Section 4(1) read with Section 3 (1) of the Minimum Wages Act, issued a notification dated 6.8.1984 bringing various establishments within the ambit of the Minimum Wages Act. The provisions of the Minimum Wages Act became applicable to "private clinics"

The question that arises for consideration is whether a " private clinic" could include a hospital or not?

The New Oxford Dictionary, 1998 Edition, defines Hospital as-

" an institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people."

Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, defines Hospital as-

"An institution for the treatment and care of sick, wounded, infirm, or aged persons."

The  Law Lexicon, defines Hospital as-

"A hospital is an institution for the reception and care of sick, wounded, infirm or aged persons."

On the other hand, the New Oxford Dictionary 1998 Edition defines clinic as-

" a place or hospital department where outpatients are given medical treatment or advice, especially of a specialist nature; an antenatal clinic."

The Webster's Dictionary, Encyclopedic 2003 Edition, defines clinic as-

" 1. The teaching of medicine and surgery by treatment of or operation upon the patients in the presence of a class in a hospital or dispensary.

 2. A class receiving such instruction.

 3. An infirmary or dispensary connected with a hospital or medical college, for the treatment of non-  resident patients."  

In Minister of Health vs. Royal Midland Counties Home for Incurables, 1954(1)  All ER 1013,  it was held that a Hospital means any institution for the reception and treatment of persons suffering from any disability requiring nursing.

From the aforesaid dictionary meanings, it can be safely culled out that a clinic is normally connected with a hospital or is a department of a hospital whereas, a hospital is an institution for the reception and care of the sick which also  requires nursing. A clinic, normally takes a concept of an infirmary or a dispensary but, in no manner, could a clinic be treated as a hospital. A clinic could be treated as a hospital provided its extent of activity takes it into the category of a hospital.

In view of the aforesaid, this Court is of the opinion that a hospital could not be included in the word " clinic" as contemplated in the notification dated 6.8.1984. Further, the authority had misdirected itself in holding that only a Government runs a hospital and that a private entrepreneur could only run a clinic and that the petitioner's hospital could only be treated as a clinic. In my view, the reasoning of the authority treating the petitioner's hospital as a clinic cannot be sustained and is quashed. The writ petition is allowed.

Dated: 14.5.07

SFH

               

 


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