Delhi HC notice to pvt hospitals on contempt plea

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from some reputed private hospitals, including Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, of the city for their failure to comply with its previous order to give free treatment to the poor patients.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notices to 12 hospitals, including Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital and St Stephen's Hospital, and sought their replies by August 30 on a plea seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against them for their failure to comply with the court's March 22, 2007, order.

While dealing with a PIL, the high court had in 2007 ordered that "all private hospitals to whom public land has been allotted on concessional rates are obliged to provide free treatment to the extent of 25 percent OPD and 10 percent IPD to patients belonging to EWS category".

The petitioner Social Jurist, an NGO, had filed the plea through counsel Ashok Aggarwal and sought a direction to hospitals to follow the lease deed conditions of reserving 25 percent beds for the patients from economically weaker section (EWS) of the society.

According to the PIL, several private hospitals in the city have obtained government land at throw away prices with a condition to provide free treatment to poor patients but they never fulfilled their promise.