The Bombay High Court held that corona patients of poor and needy classes cannot be expected to provide “Proof of Poverty” for getting concessional or free treatment while admitted to hospitals. Patients cannot be asked for proof of poverty for free or free treatment of Corona. The High Court made this remark while hearing the petition of seven people living in the slum rehabilitation building in Bandra, Mumbai.
A bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Justice Madhav Jamdar has directed the hospital to deposit Rs 10 lakh. KJ Somaiya Hospital collected Rs 12.5 lakh from these seven people for treatment of corona between 11 and 28 April. These people had to borrow to pay the hospital bills.
The petitioners’ counsel Vivek Shukla told the court that the patients were threatened with not being discharged from the hospital for non-payment. The petition alleged that the hospital recovered additional money for the PPE kit. Even money was taken for services that were not used.
The court on 13 June ordered the commissioner of the state charity to investigate whether the hospital had reserved 20 per cent beds for poor and needy patients. Are they being provided subsidized or free treatment? After investigation, the Joint Charity Commissioner told the court last week that the hospital has reserved beds, but since the time of the lockdown, only three poor or needy patients have been treated.
The counsel for the hospital said that the petitioners were not from the weaker section and to prove that they had not presented any documents of poverty.