COVID-19 | HC reserves orders in PIL on insisting treatment at Gandhi Hospital

Telangana High Court   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Telangana High Court on Tuesday reserved orders in a PIL petition seeking direction to State government to permit private hospitals and diagnostic centres to treat and conduct tests for COVID-19 patients.

The petitioner, G. Jai Kumar, contended that the State government’s decision to treat coronavirus suspects and patients only at Gandhi Hospital was arbitrary and illegal. He said private hospitals and diagnostic centres with proper infrastructure should be allowed to treat and hold tests for patients.

A bench of Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice K. Lakshman posed a volley of questions to government over its insistence that all COVID-19 patients be treated at Gandhi Hospital, before reserving orders.

Under Article 21 of the Constitution, a citizen has right to life which includes the right to medical treatment. Under what authority was the government compelling people to approach only Gandhi Hospital, the bench sought to know.

Govt.’s argument

Advocate General B.S. Prasad said it was a reasonable restriction in the backdrop of instances where private hospitals were accused of charging patients exorbitantly. Private hospitals sending patients suffering from some ailments to Gandhi Hospital was not uncommon. There was likelihood of private hospitals indulging in indiscriminate tests in the guise of diagnosis and exploiting the patients. Moreover, treatment at Gandhi Hospital was free of cost, he said. He also mentioned that the State government had transformed the Gachibowli sports complex into an exclusive hospital for COVID-19 patients.

Inadequate infra

The bench observed that there were many media reports about inadequate infrastructure at Osmania and Gandhi Hospitals. Ventilators were being acquired by government hospitals following coronavirus outbreak. Before that, such crucial instruments were not available in required number there, the bench said.

Justice Ramachandra Rao asked whether the government can provide details of how many politicians and bureaucrats availed treatment facilities in government hospitals. “When a person can afford to pay for treatment in a corporate hospital, on what ground can State stop that person,” the judge asked.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 9:55:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/covid-19-hc-reserves-orders-in-pil-on-insisting-treatment-at-gandhi-hospital/article31568249.ece

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