The Supreme Court gives Interim Order to the Government not to renew the license of the medical institutions that do not comply with the government standards

Acting upon a Public Interest Litigation initiated by JuRI-Nepal, the Supreme Court of Nepal, on 18 February 2014, issued an Interim Order to the Government prohibiting the renewal of the license of the medical institutions that do not comply with the standards. The Interim Order stayed the implementation of Section 12 of the Guidelines for Establishment, Operation and Standardization of Health Institutions that provides for mandatory renewal of the medical institutions for a period of three years of the health institutions that do not comply with standards enforceable on them.

The new guideline gives the Government mandatory power to issue license to such medical institutions which had got license before the Guidelines came into effect even if they are well short of fulfilling the standards set by the Government. Advocate Madhav Kumar Basnet, Dip Magar and Shyam Biswokarma, on behalf of JuRI-Nepal, filed a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Section 12 on the basis of the right to quality health service guaranteed under the Interim Constitution 2063 and article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR) which Nepal is a party to.

The respondents, including the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health are called upon by the court for discussion on whether to continue the Stay Order or not. In addition to challenging the Section 12 under the Guidelines, JuRI-Nepal has demanded, inter alia, for an order of mandamus to oblige the Government to strictly monitor such institutions and even close down if they do not adhere to the standards. In the writ, the petitioners also demanded with the court to give orders, as appropriate, to form a permanent monitoring committee to ascertain whether the standards are adequately complied with and recommend to take necessary action if found violated as well as enacting a law to implement the right to health guaranteed by the Interim Constitution and the Covenant.

(For further information, see full version of the writ petition.)