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The Court has sought a reply from the Central government within one week.
The Supreme Court today sought a response from the Central government on whether private hospitals built on government land can provide free treatment to COVID-19 patients.
(Sachin Jain Petition)
(Free COVID treatment order)
The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy also asked the Centre to identify private charitable hospitals which can treat COVID-19 patients for free or at a very nominal cost.
The Court has now asked the government to respond to the petition within a week.
The petition filed by Advocate Sachin Jain prayed for “cost related regulations” for treatment of COVID-19 patients in private/corporate hospitals.
In his plea, Jain has cited news reports alleging inflated billing by private hospitals. It states,
“...when the nation is fighting a battle against the pandemic, all such private hospitals which are running on public land (allotted at concessional rates) or are running under the category of “charitable institutions” should be called upon to provide the hospitalisation and treatment to the Covid-19 patients pro bono publico/ non-profit basis”.
The petition has made a case that tariffs of other private hospitals should also be regulated by the government on a “fixed cost basis”.
Jain has relied on a 2007 judgment in which the Delhi High Court had condemned the conduct of various hospitals in the capital for not adhering to their social commitments despite receiving benefits from the government.
The plea further submits that the public health sector might not be able to handle the current burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“…given the resource constraints of Public health sector, it becomes apparent that government/public health sector alone may not be able to manage the fallout, and hence, extensive participation of the private healthcare sector would be required."