The Himachal Pradesh High Court has asked the Centre to take care of medical needs of its retired employees, observing that their “genuine” medical requirements cannot be permitted to be buried in the labyrinth of red tape.
Dismissing an appeal filed by the central government, challenging an order of the Central Administrative Tribunal in favour of Shankar Lal Sharma, who underwent heart surgery after retirement and incurred an expenditure of Rs. 1.8 lakh that the government declined to reimburse, the bench of justices Rajiv Sharmaand Sureshwar Thakur said “the right to health is a human right”.
“An employee cannot be left high and dry immediately after retirement forwant of medical care. His medical issues are required to be looked intowith more sensitivity, compassion and sympathy and action of the Uniongovernment not to reimburse the medical bills to the respondent(Sharma) and also not giving option to him and similarly situated people residing in a city not covered under the CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme)is illegal, arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory,” the 101-page order said.
Not providing post-retirement medical care to retired governmentofficials in a city not covered by the CGHS at par with in-serviceemployees would result in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, the court said.
Moreover, they said, employees need most medical care after retirement.
The court said all central government pensioners residing in non-CGHSareas would be covered either under the Central Services (MedicalAttendance) Rules of 1944 or CGHS as per their option to be sought forby the government within six months.
Henceforth, option of the employees be sought by the central government at the time of their retirement whether they want to becovered under either the Central Services (Medical Attendance) Rules or the CGHS.
In order to avoid litigation, the judgement was made applicable to allretired government officials residing in non-CGHS areas.
( Source – PTI )