The Appellate Division on Thursday asked the United Hospital authorities to pay Tk 25 lakh to each of the families of four victims of the May 27, 2020 fire incident that killed five patients who were undergoing treatment at the hospital’s isolation unit temporarily set up to treat Covid patients.
The six-member bench, chaired by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, asked the hospital authorities to pay the money within a month.
The bench issued the directive after disposing of an appeal filed by the hospital challenging the High Court’s directive that ordered it to pay Tk 30 lakh to each of the families within 15 days.
The Appellate Division, in response to the hospital appeal, on January 21 stayed the HC directive issued on January 11 regarding the payment of the compensation.
The High Court had asked the hospital authorities to initially pay Tk 30 to each victim family until the court disposed of a rule that on January 11 asked the hospital authorities to explain why it would not be asked to pay Tk 1 crore to each of the families as compensation.
The petitioners are victims Khodeza Begum’s son Md Alamgir, Reazul Alam’s wife Fowzia Akter, Mahbub Elahi Chowdhury’s son Anan Chowdhury, and Bernard Anthony Paul’s son-in-law Ronald Micky Gomes.
The police, the Fire Service and Civil Defence and the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha in separate investigation reports, submitted to the bench, found the prima facie evidence that a sheer negligence of the hospital authorities was responsible for the loss of the lives in the fire.
The five patients died after a fire broke out in an air-conditioner installed in the doctors’ room in a temporarily built tin-shed structure connected to the Covid isolation unit of the hospital.
Lawyers Aneek R Haque and Hassan MS Azim appearing for the families of the four victims told the court that the family of victim Monir Hossain did not demand any compensation as the hospital authorities paid it Tk 20 lakh.
Md Mustafizur Rahman Khan and Tanjib-ul Alam defended the hospital authorities.
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