Bhram Pal Singh, a horse-cart puller in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur town, was in for a shock when a private hospital here denied him treatment for lack of money, despite the Delhi High Court’s direction to give free treatment to the economically weaker sections of the society.
‘The doctors at Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre asked me to pay Rs.10,000 for the treatment of my eye ailment,’ Singh told IANS, stating that he earns even less than Rs.4,000 a month.
According to the court’s directions, all hospitals which have taken the land on subsidised rates from the government are bound to give free treatment to the patients belonging to the economically weaker sections.
‘Initially, the hospital asked me to pay Rs.36,000, calling my surgery a critical one. Then, after I explained to them that this amount is beyond my capacity, they lowered it to Rs.10,000,’ Singh said.
When Singh explained his inability to pay, he was denied treatment at the hospital.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who is fighting Singh’s case, said: ‘According to the court orders, a patient seeking free treatment requires to sign a declaration provided by the hospital itself to the effect that his family income is less then Rs.4,000 per month.
‘The hospital cannot insist upon such patients to produce documents, including BPL card, in support thereof,’ Agarwal, who is also a member of a High Court appointed special committee to oversee the implementation of EWS (economically weaker section) scheme said.
Agarwal also wrote a letter to the principal secretary, Health, Delhi government, saying: ‘The conduct on the part of the hospital tantamounts to contempt of the court order as the hospital has deliberately and willfully disobeyed and disrespected the directions of the court.
‘The government can also initiate action for taking over the management of the hospital and the lease deed of the hospital is also liable to be cancelled by the land owning agency,’ he said.