Sri Gulam Nabi Azad
Union Minister of Health,
Government of India,
Nirman Bhavan, New Delhi-1
SUBJECT: Seeking formulation of a clear National Policy by the Central Government to ensure that all private hospitals across the country which have been provided government land at concessional rates in any part of the country should be directed to provide free medical treatment and free beds to the extent of 10% IPD and 25% OPD to poor patients on the lines of such free medical treatment and free beds having been facilitated to the poor by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in over 40 private hospitals which were provided concessional government land in the National Capital Territory of Delhi
This has reference to the submission of the learned Central Government Counsel before the Delhi High Court on 24/11/2011 that the government is in the process of formulating a policy for the National Capital Territory of Delhi with regard to providing free treatment and beds to poor patients in 42 private hospitals which were given government land at concessional rates for the purpose.
While dismissing the Special Leave Petitions of the 10 private hospitals, the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in its landmark order dated 1 September 2011, had clearly stated that all hospitals which have been provided concessional government land are duty bound to provide 10% IPD and 25% OPD facilities free of cost to the poor patients. In view of the spirit of the Supreme Court order dated 1 September 2011, the Central Government should come out with an elaborate National Policy to facilitate similar free medical treatment and beds to the poor patients in all private hospitals across the country which have been provided concessional land in any part of the country.
It is submitted that public lands on concessional rates have been provided to charitable societies all over the country for running hospitals. However, barring Delhi, all the private hospitals in other States and Union Territories are not at all providing free medical treatment to the economically weaker sections, perhaps in the absence of clear policy decision by the Central Government. By not providing free treatment to the poor, these hospitals for the last four decades have not only violated the terms of the land allotments with impunity but have also cheated the people of this country.
If a clear National Policy is formulated by the Central Government with regard to providing free treatment to poor patients in private hospitals all over the country – while taking into consideration the spirit of the Supreme Court’s 1 September 2011 order – it will go a long way in ensuring that thousands of poor patients living across the country are immensely benefited and also saved from the undue harassment at the hands of the management and authorities of the private hospital which has been provided concessional government land.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist