New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, here on Wednesday, asked the Centre to consider free treatment for Covid-19 patients and identify hospitals where minimum or free of cost treatment could be provided.
The Justice Bobde-headed Bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking regulations for treatment of coronavirus patients at private hospitals.
The Chief Justice asked the Centre to identify private hospitals and find out whether they could provide treatment free or at a minimum cost.
The Supreme Court had earlier issued notice saying the private hospitals had a right to be heard before a decision was taken on free treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it was a policy issue and sought time to file the reply. The court has listed the matter for next week.
In the PIL, filed by Sachin Jain, it was argued that private hospitals were charging exorbitant fee to treat Covid-19 patients and the Centre had given them unfettered powers to decide treatment charges.
Beds and basic treatment in private hospitals were unaffordable by the majority of people, Jain had argued at the last hearing.
“It is submitted that if such inflated billing by the private hospitals can become a cause of concern for the insurance industry, what will be the plight of common man who neither has a fat wallet nor an insurance cover to reimburse in case of hospitalisation in a private hospital,” Jain argued.
The petitioner insisted said it was a matter of grave concern as a large section of Indians didn”t have any insurance cover and had also not benefited from any government health scheme.