The Gujarat High Court directed the State Government to keep a close watch over the designated private hospitals. This is to ensure that these institutions do not exploit COVID-19 patients. Private medical institutions are expected to ‘rise on occasion’ in these testing times. The Court made these remarks to clarify the previous orders dated May 14, 2020. Previously, the court directed the private hospitals to restrain from demanding ‘exorbitant fees’. Moreover, strict action would follow in case of violation of the orders; including cancellation of license.
Contentions by the Petitioner
The Ahmedabad Medical Association filed the petition; they expressed distress over the use of words ‘exorbitant fees’. Furthermore, Private hospitals have reduced their rates by 30%. Henceforth, the use of the word ‘exorbitant’ is not justified. The court clarified the same; it cautioned financial constraints should be a reason for the hindrance of medical treatment. The Court restrained the Private hospitals from demanding admission fees in advance in the order dated May 14, 2020. However, the court has modified this order; to the extent that if a person directly comes to a private hospital for treatment, it is up to the hospital to demand fess in advance. Lastly, the court directed the counsels to place the record of the incidents of violation of the orders to take strict actions against the erring hospitals.