The Supreme Court has sought a reply from the Centre regarding a PIL filed by Avishek Goenka in the Apex Court. The PIL prayed for specifying directions to the authorities to adopt a system where COVID-19 patients could receive treatment at medical facilities of their choice. Furthermore, it seeks to set a uniform pricing for similar categories of rooms, treatment, etc. in private hospitals.
The Bench included Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah, and V Ramasubramanian. They ordered for a copy of the petition to be served to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. The Court has fixed the matter to be heard after one week.
Hospitals: State or Private?
The affluent had accustomed themselves to certain comfort standards which the government hospitals were unable to provide. If the Centre bars patients from undergoing treatment at a hospital of their choice, it is violative of their Article 14 and Article 21. Additionally this psychological trauma and mental stress would be detrimental to the treatment process. If the Centre accepts this PIL, it would reduce the burden on State hospitals. Moreover, the plea also contains a suggestion to bring more private hospitals under their fold to address the issue of insufficiency.
A Private Dilemma
Private hospitals as a solution, firstly, has to be made a option viable. The Government has failed at setting a baseline price with regard to the treatment costs. As a consequence, private hospitals are charging exorbitantly. The hospital’s irrational billing infringes upon the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
In addition, the Apex Court has directed insurance companies to settle full claims immediately. Furthermore, they be raised as per government-specified rates.