THE BOMBAY High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the state government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on a plea, which claimed that private hospitals are not admitting Covid-19 patients and charging exorbitant fee from patients by taking advantage of a lockdown. The plea also claimed that the BMC is not accepting reports from private testing laboratories.
The High Court also observed that the presence of the municipal commissioner would be beneficial for adjudication and directed the petitioner to add the BMC commissioner as a party to the case.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde on Tuesday was hearing through video conferencing a PIL filed by Sarika Singh, a resident of Kurla, which claimed that private hospitals certifying patients as not affected by Covid-19 are not being accepted by the BMC and they are being asked to undergo tests again.
The petition represented by Advocate Varsha Jagdale has sought directions to the BMC to redress concerns raised.
Jagdale said Singh was prompted to file the PIL after she learnt that a constable, who had Covid-19 symptoms, was asked to deposit Rs 2 lakh by a private hospital in Vashi for admission.
The petitioner, in her plea, stated that the constable was unable to arrange the amount and, therefore, he was kept waiting for close to five hours. It was only after the local police station warned the hospital authorities that they could face legal action, the hospital admitted him with a deposit of Rs 20,000, the plea further rstated.
According to the plea, private hospitals should not refuse admission to police personnel covered by Aarogya Kutumb Yojana of the state government.
After the petitioner sought to make the BMC commissioner party to the case, the bench led by Chief Justice Datta noted, “Having regard to the nature of issues raised in the PIL petition and also upon hearing counsels appearing for the respective parties, we are of the considered opinion that the presence of the municipal commissioner would be beneficial for proper adjudication of such issues and dispensation of justice on this PIL petition.”
Government Pleader Purnima H Kantharia representing the state and advocate Yamuna Parekh for the BMC sought time to obtain instructions from the authorities on grievances raised by the petitioner. Seeking response from the authorities, the bench posted further hearing to May 22.
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