The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked why the private hospitals, given land free of cost by the government, cannot treat Covid-19 patients for free. It questioned the central government if there is any impediment in obligating such private hospitals with treatment of coronavirus patients.
"They have been given land either free of cost or at a very nominal cost. These private charitable hospitals should treat them for free," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The bench asked Mehta to identify such private hospitals, which have been allotted land on the ground of charity, and submit its views after a week.
"You should identify such hospitals and tell us. They should provide treatment on this ground alone," observed the top court.
The bench was hearing a matter relating to regulating the charges being levied by private hospitals for Covid-19 treatments.
The petition by Sachin Jain had regretted that private hospitals are trying to make a fortune out of the national pandemic, and hence there must be a regulation.
He claimed private hospitals were charging between Rs 10-12 lakh from Covid-19 patients even though the treatment did not even involve any surgery.
The court on the last date had sought a reply from the Centre and adjourned the matter. Jain, however, sought an early hearing and the court decided to seek a reply on free-of-cost treatment by the private hospitals.