The supreme court on Wednesday asked the Central government to identify private hospitals which are given free land by the government. SC ruled that those hospitals will be treating Coronavirus patients for free or at a nominal cost.
The Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde observed that the hospitals that were given free lands should treat COVID-19 patients for free. The Bench comprising Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “You identify all those hospitals and find out.” The Bench ruled, “They have been given land either free of cost or at a very nominal rate. These charitable hospitals should treat patients for free.”
The petitioner alleged that many hospitals are indulging in financial exploitation
Advocate Sachin Jain had filed a petition in court seeking relaxation in the cost of corona treatment in the private hospitals. He alleged that many hospitals are indulged in the financial exploitation of coronavirus patients even in times of crisis. Jain said that the private hospitals which are built on government land or fall under the category of charitable institutions, the government should ask them to at least test the coronavirus patients for free in the interest of the public.
The apex court had issued a notice to the central government on April 30 in the matter and sought a response. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the government and said that this is a policy issue required to be discussed by the government. He said that he will file a response to this issue.
The petitioner has appealed to the court to direct the government that if someone from poor section gets infected by coronavirus and undergoing treatment at a private hospital, the government should bear their expenses. The poor who do not have any insurance cover neither have coverage under Ayushman Bharat should also be treated for free, he said. Also, the poor who have insurance cover but the cost of treatment is more than reimbursement, then the government should also compensate for that.
The petition also said that in the exercise of powers under the Disaster management act the Centre has regulated the costs of COVID-19 tests in the private sector and on the same analogy the government can regulate the cost of treatment in the private hospitals.