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United Hospital fire: SC stays High Court's compensation order for victim families

  • Published at 01:57 pm July 21st, 2020
United Hospital
Fire engulfs the makeshift Isolation Unit of the hospital on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Earlier on July 15, the High Court directed United Hospital authorities to pay Tk30 lakh as initial compensation to each family of four out of the five victims who were killed in the fire at its isolation unit on May 27

The Supreme Court has stayed a High Court order till August 16 that directed United Hospital authorities to pay Tk30 lakh as initial compensation to each family of four out of the five victims who were killed in the fire at its isolation unit on May 27.

Appellate Division chamber judge Justice Md Nuruzzaman passed the order after hearing a virtual appeal filed by the United Hospital on Tuesday.

Advocate Niaz Muhammad Mahboob confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.

The court also ordered that the matter will be heard with the full court bench of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on August 16.

Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Barrister Mustafizur Rahman Khan and Barrister Tanjib-ul Alam joined the virtual hearing on behalf of the appeal, while Barrister Hasan MS Azim, Barrister Aneek R Haque, Barrister Muntasir Uddin Ahmed, Barrister Syed Redwan Hasan, Advocate Niaz Muhammad Mahboob, and Barrister Shahida Sultana Shila represented the writ.

Earlier on July 15, the High Court directed United Hospital authorities to pay Tk30 lakh as initial compensation to each family of four out of the five victims who were killed in the fire at its isolation unit on May 27.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim came up with the directive after virtually hearing five separate writ petitions filed on behalf of the victims' families, seeking compensation from the hospital authorities.

The court also directed the hospital authorities to pay the compensation within 15 days after receiving the copy of the High Court order.

On June 29, Advocate Niaz Muhammad Mahboob told Dhaka Tribune the High Court ordered both parties to come to an amicable settlement regarding compensation by July 12.

The court also asked the police to complete the investigation of a case filed by a victim’s family.

Later, the hospital authorities sent letters to the victims’ families, leading to meetings between the parties. 

Four out of the five families of victims did not agree to the hospital's proposal on compensation; only the family of victim Monir Hossain agreed to the Tk20 lakh compensation proposal.

After the hearing, the court asked United Hospital to pay Tk30 lakh as compensation to each family of the four victims within 15 days, the lawyer added.

A Fire Service and Civil Defence probe report submitted to the High Court on June 15 said effective measures could have saved the lives of the patients who died in the fire at the Covid-19 unit of United Hospital on May 27.

The report also mentioned negligence on the part of the hospital authorities in preventing and controlling the fire.

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