Chennai

Jaya panel lawyers to inspect Apollo Hospitals on July 29

File photo.  

The Justice Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry, probing the death of Jayalalithaa, on Friday ordered the inspection of the facilities used by the former Chief Minister and her aide V.K. Sasikala at the Apollo Hospitals on Greames Road, where she was admitted for 75 days in 2016.

The judge allowed an application from the Commission’s two lawyers to visit the hospital between 7 and 7.45 p.m. on July 29, overruling the objections raised by the Apollo Hospitals.

Apart from the lawyers attached to the Commission, S. Parthasarathy and Niranjan Rajagopalan, Justice Arumughaswamy also allowed two lawyers representing Sasikala and a photojournalist to be part of the inspection team.

The Commission’s lawyers argued that they needed to visit and examine 10 locations within the hospital, “....to understand the circumstances and correlate the same with the evidence rendered” before the Commission.

The team can visit the second floor, housing the Critical Care Unit and room 2008 where Jayalalithaa stayed. The Commission has also offered to pay Apollo Hospitals the day’s rent for room 2008 if the organisation feels there is a loss of revenue due to the visit.

The team will also visit the third floor, where Sasikala and her relatives stayed.

In its order, the Commission asked the hospital to identity certain locations for the team: where Ministers and other dignitaries stayed, where government duty doctors and secretaries were stationed and the briefing room, where doctors updated officials regarding Jayalalithaa’s health. But the team can’t interact with the hospital authorities and journalists will be allowed to wait at the hospital’s reception.

The photojournalist would view the hospital kitchen only from the outside. “The photographer is permitted to take photos snaps of the room, ward, etc as they like not exceeding 10 snaps subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Commission and the hospital authorities and if any difference of opinion, the decision of the Secretary prevails,” said the order.

The Commission added that an inspection was necessary to compare the features of Jayalalithaa’s room with those in a video submitted as evidence.

Apollo raises objection

When Sasikala’s lawyer N. Raja Senthoor Pandian requested her legal team to be included, Apollo counsel Malmoona Badsha objected, saying it was unnecessary and could lead to crowding. The hospital said the photos should not be made public.

Its international standards meant a bar on photography over patient privacy concerns, Mr. Badsha said.

Justice Arumughaswamy said the hospital had removed CCTV cameras during Jayalalithaa’s stay. The matter pertained to no ordinary citizen, but a Chief Minister and the public was anxious to know if the photos released previously had been taken at the hospital or not, he said.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 1:55:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/jaya-panel-lawyers-to-inspect-apollo-hospitals-on-july-29/article24417444.ece

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