The Madras High Court has turned down the prayer of a private hospital at Tiruchirappalli seeking to quash a Tamil Nadu G.O. of May this year debarring it from conducting screening camps and performing cataract operations under the National Programme for Control of Blindness.

Joseph Eye Hospital stated that it was set up in 1934 to “render sustainable and affordable eye care services to the poor and underprivileged sections.”

It had conducted eye operations in 21 districts and had three satellite units at Ariyalur, Perambalur and Karur. Every year, it conducted 35,000 surgeries.

The unit at Perambalur conducted an eye camp in 2008 after which 66 persons belonging to two villages in Villupuram district turned blind.

Following a public interest litigation petition seeking compensation for the victims, the Madras High Court directed the CBI to investigate the matter and file a report.

A case has been registered against three doctors of the hospital, its management and office-bearers of Perambalur District Blindness Control Society and unknown government servants for offences including acting in a rash and negligent manner to endanger human life and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The investigating agency has submitted a preliminary report to the court.

In his order dismissing the petition, Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar said that unless and until the hospital is exonerated from the criminal allegation, it had no right to demand permission for performing the surgeries.

A prima facie case had been made out by CBI against the hospital.

There was no merit in the petition.