Legislature panel members can’t harass or issue directions to nursing institutes during their study visits: Karnataka HC

Members of the Legislature House Committee (LHC) cannot be permitted to harass or threaten any legal action or issue any type of directions to nursing institutes in the process of their visit to gather information on whether the institutes are functioning in accordance with law, the High Court of Karnataka has said.

Also, the court said that no action can be initiated against nursing institutes merely based on the findings of the LHC while making it clear that any action against the institutes will have to be based on the provisions of the laws, under which the functions of the institutes are governed.

However, the court said that as the LHC has the power in law to take evidence or call for papers, records or documents for the purposes of its study, it has to be held that such power even includes the power to visit the institutes to study whether they are functioning in as per the law.

Justice M.I. Arun passed the order while dismissing the petitions filed by the Hyderabad-Karnataka Nursing Management Association, the Karnataka Nursing Institution Management Association, and the Karnataka State Association of the Management of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences Institutions.

The petitioners had questioned the legality of the communication dated May 4, 2022 issued by the LHC authorising its sub-committees to physically visit the nursing institutes in all the districts to study their functioning.

The special LHC was set up last year following the debate in the Legislative Council over the issue that permissions were granted to several nursing institutes even though many of them had no requisite infrastructure.

“In the process of studying the functioning of nursing colleges, the committee members cannot be permitted to harass the institutions and their visit should be strictly limited to study/collect evidence as to whether the colleges are subscribing to the prescribed standards,” the court said.

The court also made it clear that the power of the committee to visit the institutes “does not empower the committee members to threaten any legal action or issue any type of directions to the nursing colleges”.

Further, the court said that the “committee is constituted only to study the functioning of the colleges and not to supervise or perform the function of authorities under various laws, which govern the functioning of nursing colleges”.

Any action against the erring institute can be initiated only under the provisions of the laws such as the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947, the Karnataka Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act, 1961, the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences Act, 1994, etc., the court said.

The court also said that the visit of the committees to the nursing institutes should be during office hours and with due prior intimation to the institutes about the visit.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 7:36:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/legislature-panel-members-cant-harass-or-issue-directions-to-nursing-institutes-during-their-study-visits-karnataka-hc/article65779819.ece