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The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea seeking that public and private hospitals be directed to relax expenses of medical facilities for non-COVID-19 treatments.
The Bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai today refused to entertain the plea. The petitioner therefore, sought to withdraw the petition.
The petition filed by Advocate Sourjya Das also prayed for directing hospitals to collect all bills in adherence to the reduced expenses prayed for in the plea.
The petitioner recounted that while imposing the Coronavirus lockdown, the Centre did not take any steps to reduce the medical expenses and bills for non-COVID-19 treatment. This, it is claimed, is a "direct infringement of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution."
The lockdown has brought a halt to the citizens' ability to earn a livelihood , and people are constrained to dip into their savings even for bare essentials such as food and shelter, the plea states. At a time like this, people will continue to need non-COVID-19 medical treatment like chemotherapy, surgeries, and such.
Given the indefinite and uncertain halt in earning from regular sources of income and the expenses that medical treatments call for, the authorities ought to relax or reduce the bills and expenses for non-COVID-19 medical treatments, the petitioner contended.
Till date, no circular or order has been issued by the government directing for a relaxation in medical fees and expenses charged by hospitals and medical facilities, the petition had argued.
It was further argued that at a time like this, there is an urgent need for reduction of general medical expenses at both private and public hospitals.