DELHI GOVT MOVES TO RECOVER FROM PRIVATE HOSPITALS UNWARRANTED PROFITS MADE AT THE COST OF THE POOR
Delhi Government after Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld Delhi High Court judgment dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist PIL on September 01, 2010 has now moved to recover from 43 identified private hospitals unwarranted profits having been made by these hospitals by denying free-treatment to poor patients during the relevant period in accordance with the land allotment clause.
The Directorate of Health Services, Government of NCT of Delhi by its letter dated 06.03.2012 has sought detailed information from all the 43 identified Private Hospitals in the prescribed Proforma within one month in order to determine the amounts to be recovered from each hospital to be used as corpus for the welfare/treatment of the poorest in the Government Hospitals as per the directions of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court.
The Hon'ble Delhi High Court in Order dated 22.03.2007 in Social Jurist amongst others held,
"There is no justification whatsoever on the part of the General, Specialty or Super Specialty hospitals not to comply with the mandate of the condition. Thus, they would be asked to make good of the non-compliance of the condition and they must repay to the authorities and the society at large for the unwarranted profits, at the cost of the poor, made by them for all these years to the extent of the percentage of free-patient treatment (in terms of money) proportionate to the number of patients treated by them during the relevant period and they must pay that money to the authorities who shall create a central corpus/pool which shall be utilized for the welfare, health-care and treatment of the poorer section of society in Government Hospitals. A Division Bench of this Court in its order dated 07.11.2002 (referred Supra) had passed such a direction. Despite orders of this Court from time to time, the hospitals which were in default persisted with the same and showed complete disobedience to the orders of the Court. The conduct of these hospitals even during the pendency of the writ petition is not worthy of any appreciation. Rather, it would tilt towards denial of relief on equitable grounds. Thus, we direct that a special committee shall be constituted which shall carry out these directions in its best wisdom and which shall ensure that the directions of the Court are neither diluted nor rendered ineffective by such steps."
It is unfortunate that despite High Court and Supreme Court orders, some of the identified private hospitals like Mool Chand Karaiti Ram Trust and Hospital, St. Stephen's Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre are still not at all providing free-treatment to the EWS patients. The present step of the Government to recover unwarranted profits from all the erring private hospitals would certainly go a long way in implementation of the Court Orders in accordance with which such private hospitals on public lands allotted to them on highly concessional rates are obliged to provide totally free-treatment to EWS patients to the extent of 10% IPD and 25% OPD.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist
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