The Karnataka High Court has held that under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, the power to seal is only available under Section 22, which can only be invoked when a private medical establishment is run without registration.

In that context, the Bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna observed that, "The only power to seal a premise is under Section 22 and the only reason under Section 22 can be that a private medical establishment is run without registration. The case at hand is not the one where the Nursing Home is run without registration. It is admitted fact that the Nursing Home is registered under Section 7 of the Act. Therefore, sealing of the premises is contrary to law."

Counsel BV Vidyulatha appeared for the petitioner, while AGA Navya Shekhar appeared for the respondents.

The petitioner, a 40-bedded nursing home registered under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Act, 2017, sought relief from a notice issued on 19-12-2023. The notice, following a surprise inspection, listed deficiencies and directed the nursing home to respond within seven days.

Pending clarification, the nursing home was locked on the grounds of inadequate record maintenance. The petitioner claimed the closure was an extreme measure and challenged it, emphasizing compliance with relevant acts. The State argued serious violations, including surgeries performed by unqualified doctors, leading to the removal of female foetuses.

The Court observed that, "The Nursing Home is now issued a notice to hold an inquiry. An inquiry shall be conducted in accordance with law. However, sealing of the premises being contrary to law will have to be annulled. Therefore, the premises will have to be unlocked with several stringent conditions."

Allowing the petition in part, and holding that the premises were to be unlocked, the following conditions were imposed:

a) The scanning unit within the premises of the Nursing Home shall remain closed till the inquiry is complete.

b) No surgery shall be performed without the express approval of the competent authority and never to be performed by the owners of the Nursing Home, as they are not qualified to perform any surgery, which would all be subject to the outcome of the enquiry.

c) The inquiry that is now initiated or to be initiated against the Nursing Home shall be concluded within four months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, if not earlier.


Petitioner: Counsel BV Vidyulatha

Respondent: AGA Navya Shekhar

Cause Title: Shree Devi Nursing Home vs State of Karnataka

Click here to read/download the Judgment