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Ensure Covid patients from weaker sections get ‘optimum’ healthcare: Bombay HC to state

The court said authorities implementing the scheme shall take all possible steps to make treatment available to all patients from weaker sections of society and they should not be deprived of healthcare facilities on financial grounds.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 1, 2021 10:02:08 pm
The court sought the state's stand on the issue and posted the further hearing to May 4. (PTI Photo)

The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench recently told the Maharashtra government that Covid-19 patients from weaker sections of society should get all medical facilities to its “optimum” level and that it is “high time” the state strictly implement the Mahatma Jotiba Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (public health scheme), designed to offer free medical care to the underprivileged.

The court said authorities implementing the scheme shall take all possible steps to make treatment available to all patients from weaker sections of society and they should not be deprived of healthcare facilities on financial grounds.

A division bench of Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice Mukund G Sewlikar on April 27 passed an order on a PIL, filed by Omprakash Shete through advocate A B Girase, complaining about non-availability of benefits of the scheme, declared by the state under various Government Resolutions (GRs), issued in May 2020.

The scheme provided free medical treatment to the underprivileged, beneficiaries under the Annapurna Scheme, orange and yellow ration card holders, farmers from suicide-prone districts, students from government residential schools, senior citizens, women from shelter homes and orphanages and journalists and their families.

Girase said poor Covid patients, eligible as beneficiaries under the scheme, approached the empanelled hospitals, including private facilities, recognised by the government, but they were not given any benefits, rather made to pay for the medical care, which they could not afford.

In light of the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases, the bench said, “Certainly, the patients from the weaker section of society would be required to be taken care of by the state and provided all medical facilities to its optimum and it is high time that the state implement the scheme in its true letter and spirit.”

The court sought the state’s stand on the issue and posted the further hearing to May 4.

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