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SC Urged To Identify Private Hospitals Engaged in “Black Marketing” Of Health Services During COVID19

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The Supreme Court of India has issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking directions that the government should regulate Covid-19 treatment cost at all private and corporate hospitals. The plea also prays that Government should bear cost of Covid-19 treatment for poor or vulnerable at private hospitals and that it should identify “ private hospitals engaged in black marketing of essential health services at the hour of national calamity.”

A Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justice Aniruddha Bose passed the order while hearing the petition filed by Advocate Sachin Jain, who submitted that Private hospitals were charging around 12 lakh Rupees for Covid-19 treatment in some cases. The Petition seeks nationwide cost regulation for treatment of Covid-19 patients at private or corporate hospitals.

He urged the court to consider the issue as urgent, as many private hospitals are exploiting patients commercially who are suffering from Covid-19 to make a fortune out of their miseries in national crisis.

The petitioner submitted, Most of the hospitals charge exorbitantly for the room rent and PPE Kits used by hospital staff.

It was prayed that the Government in exercise of powers under Section 6 and Section 10 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 has regulated cost of Covid-19 testing in private health sector and made it applicable to States and Union Territories. Government can also regulate cost of Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals, the plea contended.

The Petitioner has further urged the Court to direct private hospitals running on public land or running under category of “charitable institutions” to treat Covid-19 patients either pro bono publico or on non-profit basis.

The plea also prays that Government should bear cost of Covid-19 treatment for poor or vulnerable at private hospitals and that it should identify “ private hospitals engaged in black marketing of essential health services at the hour of national calamity.”

-India Legal Bureau

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