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Why private hospitals awarded free govt land can’t provide free Covid treatment: SC to Centre

SC to Centre

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Central Government to identify hospitals where Covid-19 patients can be treated free of cost or at minimal costs.

The Apex Court was hearing a petition, filed by a lawyer, Sachin Jain, seeking cost related regulations for treatment of Covid-19 patients in private/corporate hospitals.

When these hospitals can avail land free of cost, then why can’t they provide free or minimal cost COVID treatment, a bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy asked the government seeking reply within a week.

Jain refers to news reports alleging inflated billing by private hospitals, and submits that “when the nation is fighting a battle against the pandemic, all such private hospitals which are running on public land (allotted at concessional rates) or are running under the category of “charitable institutions” should be called upon to provide the hospitalisation and treatment to the Covid-19 patients pro bono publico/ non-profit basis”.

A day earlier, the top court took government to task on problems and miseries of migrant labourers stranded in different parts of the country due to lockdown.

“Adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of cost,” the court ordered.

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