Not mandatory for private hospitals to treat poor for free: HC
New Delhi: In a setback to poor patients, the Delhi High Court Monday exempted city`s four big private hospitals from the "mandatory obligation" to provide free treatment to certain percentage of poor patients.
Saying such mandatory requirement was "not provided in their lease deed", a division bench of Justice S.Ravindra Bhat and Justice R.V.Easwar allowed the pleas of the hospitals challenging the central government`s order of incorporating a condition inserted in its lease deed for free treatment to the poor.
The government had mandatory for private hospitals, built on land allocated by the government on concessional rates, to provide 10 percent treatment to poor people in the patient department (IPD) and 25 percent in the out patient department (OPD).
The bench order came on a bunch of petitions filed by four hospitals - Mool Chand Khairati Ram Trust, St.Stephen`s Hospital, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science & Research and Foundation for Applied Research in Cancer - challenging the central government`s order on the ground that it was not part of the conditions of lease deeds.
The central government had contended that providing treatment to the poor was one of the clause in the lease deed due to which land was given to hospitals at a very cheap price.
In its judgment, the court said: "What the government is seeking to achieve is untenable," adding that "neither the allotment nor the lease deed contained any requirement to provide free medical facilities" and submission of the central Delhi government that they had the power to issue direction in the regard are "untenable".
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