Mumbai: The BD Petit Parsee General Hospital (PGH) in Cumballa Hill has invited the ire of the Charity Commissioner for not treating non-Parsi patients under schemes for the poor. While the Parsi community is known for charity without differentiating between communities, the 105-year-old hospital is one of the few community-run charitable institutions that has been ‘Parsis only’ since inception.
Charity Commissioner Shivkumar Dige has pulled up the hospital under section 41AA of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act, 1950, that empowers him to issue directions for setting aside beds and offering treatment to poor patients free of cost, or at concessional rates. “This section provides for charitable hospitals to treat the poor irrespective of religion, caste, gender. The hospital cannot apply its ‘Parsis only’ rule to poor patients,” Mr. Dige, who will be issuing a show cause notice to the hospital, told The Hindu .
Private hospitals run by charitable trusts get subsidies for water, electricity, income tax, drugs, octroi, custom duty, Floor Space Index (FSI) among others. In return, they have to deposit 2% of their income to an Indigent Patients Fund (IPF), to be utilised for treating patients with annual incomes below ₹25,000, and 10% of their beds for such patients. They are also required to reserve another 10% of their beds for economically weak patients with annual incomes below ₹50,000, and provide them with treatment and services at concessional rates. All that the patient has to do is provide a certificate from the tehsildar, a ration card or a below poverty line (BPL) card. Mr. Dige said PGH implements these scheme, but only for poor Parsis.
In a response to an earlier notice on the same issue, the PGH management said it is within the definition of ‘public trust’ to include provisions for the benefit of a section of the general public. “Your contention that our hospital shall be required to make available accommodation and other facilities of the hospital to any person not of the Parsi and Irani Zoroastrian community is ill-founded, since out trust does not receive financial assistance or concessions, exemptions or other relief from the Central or State government,” the reply said. Mr. Dige said that the explanation was unsatisfactory.
Homa D. Petit, president, PGH, was unavailable for comment.