The Supreme Court Thursday directed 10 multi-specialty private hospitals in the national capital to provide free treatment to poor patients and recover the cost from sponsorship and endowments.
An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik said the hospitals will provide free treatment to poor patients -- 25 percent of Out Patient Department patients and 10 percent of the indoor category.
The order is applicable to 10 hospitals which have been allotted land by the Delhi government at concessional rates.
The court direction came after it dismissed petitions by these 10 hospitals challenging the Delhi High Court verdict of March 2007 directing them to provide free treatment to the poor.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing NGO Social Jurist, said that for a ‘walk-in and walk-out’ free treatment, a patient had to show that his or her total monthly family income did not exceed Rs.6,422 - the minimum wage for an unskilled worker in the city.
He said that the apex court decision for providing free treatment to poor patients would benefit all people in Delhi irrespective of the state they hail from.
Agarwal referred to the observation of the court which wondered why this facility should not be extended even to foreign nationals residing in Delhi, if they satisfied the economic criterion, for getting free treatment.
The petitioner initially pleaded for 40 hospitals in the city to be covered under the scheme for giving free treatment to the poor. Three hospitals contended that they could not be covered under the court’s direction as they were not allotted land for their hospitals at concessional rates.
Of the remaining 37 hospitals, 27 institutions were providing free treatment in accordance with the high court's verdict of 2007. But 10 hospitals challenged the verdict before the apex court