Treat the poor free of cost: Centre to hospitals



New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday told the Delhi High Court, that it would soon issue a circular asking all private hospitals, built on government land allocated to them at subsidised rates, to provide free treatment to the poor.

Advocate S K Dubey made this submission to a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and G P Mittal on behalf of the union government, while seeking two weeks for it to furnish the list of hospitals built on government land.

Allowing the Centre's plea, the court scheduled the matter for next hearing on September 26.

The court had earlier asked, the government to furnish it a list of various private hospitals, which had been allocated land at subsidised prices on the condition that they would provide free medical treatment to the poor.

The court was hearing a plea to launch contempt of court proceedings against three private hospitals - Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, Moolchand and St Stephens for defying a previous order of the court to provide free beds to poor patients and extend them free indoor medical treatment in return for the subsidised land allocated to them.

The contempt plea was filed by Social Jurists, a civil society, through its counsel Ashok Aggarwal, who alleged three hospitals have failed to comply with the high court's March 2007 order.

The court had in its order stipulated that the hospitals, which had got the government land at subsidised prices, would provide free treatment to the poor by reserving 10 per cent of its bed in the Indoor Patient Department and free treatment to up to 25 per cent of its outdoor patient.

PTI