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Can't Expect Poor Covid-19 Patients to Give Proof for Free Treatment, Says High Court

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The Bombay High Court observed that COVID-19 patients from poor and indigent sections cannot be expected to produce documentary proof to avail subsidised or.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: June 27, 2020, 1:52 PM IST
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The Bombay High Court observed that COVID-19 patients from poor and indigent sections cannot that COVID-19 patients from poor and indigent sections cannot

be expected to produce documentary proof to avail subsidisedor free treatment while getting admitted to hospitals.or free treatment while getting admitted to hospitals.

The court on Friday was hearing a plea filed by sevenresidents of a slum rehabilitation building in Bandra, who hadresidents of a slum rehabilitation building in Bandra, who had

been charged Rs 12.5 lakh by K J Somaiya Hospital for COVID-19treatment between April 11 and April 28.treatment between April 11 and April 28.

The bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Madhav Jamdardirected the hospital to deposit Rs 10 lakh in the court.directed the hospital to deposit Rs 10 lakh in the court.

The petitioners had borrowed money and managed to payRs 10 lakh out of Rs 12.5 lakh that the hospital had demanded,Rs 10 lakh out of Rs 12.5 lakh that the hospital had demanded,

after threatening to halt their discharge if they failed toclear the bill, counsel Vivek Shukla informed the court.clear the bill, counsel Vivek Shukla informed the court.

According to the plea, the petitioners were alsoovercharged for PPE kits and unused services.overcharged for PPE kits and unused services.

On June 13, the court had directed the state charitycommissioner to probe if the hospital had reserved 20 per centcommissioner to probe if the hospital had reserved 20 per cent

beds for poor and indigent patients and provided free orsubsidised treatment to them.subsidised treatment to them.

Last week, the joint charity commissioner had informedthe court that although the hospital had reserved such beds,the court that although the hospital had reserved such beds, it had treated only three poor or indigent persons since thelockdown.lockdown.

It was unfathomable that the hospital that claimed tohave reserved 90 beds for poor and indigent patients hadhave reserved 90 beds for poor and indigent patients had treated only three such persons during the pandemic, advocateShukla said.Shukla said.

He further argued that COVID-19 patients, who are indistress, cannot be expected to produce income certificate anddistress, cannot be expected to produce income certificate and such documents as proof. However, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who However, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who represented the hospital, said the petitioners did not belongto economically weak or indigent categories and had notto economically weak or indigent categories and had not produced documents to prove the same.

A person who is suffering from a disease like COVID-19 A person who is suffering from a disease like COVID-19 cannot be expected to produce certificates from a tehsildar orsocial welfare officer before seeking admission in thesocial welfare officer before seeking admission in the

hospital, the bench noted and asked the hospital to deposit Rs10 lakh in court within two weeks. PTI AYA10 lakh in court within two weeks.  

 

 

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