'Why can't pvt hosps treat COVID-19 patients for free?'

Why can't private hospitals treat COVID-19 patients for free? SC asks Centre

 The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre as to why the private hospitals, given land free of cost, couldn't treat COVID-19 patients for free.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy gave the central government one week's time to file a reply to a PIL by Sachin Jain.

The court asked the Centre to identify those hospitals which should treat COVID-19 patients for free or at a very nominal cost.


"They have been given land either free of cost or at a very nominal cost. These charitable hospitals should treat the patients for free," the bench said.

A PIL by Sachin Jain wanted directions to the Centre to regulate the cost of COVID-19 treatment at private and corporate hospitals, which were exploiting the situation by charging Rs 10 to 12 lakh from one patient in the national calamity.

He submitted that the private hospitals running on public land or the land allotted at a concessional rate must treat COVID-19 patients pro bono or on no-profit basis.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the court allowed the Tamil Nadu government to use fourth to eighth floor of Billroth Hospital in Chennai for the purpose of COVID-19 pandemic.

These floors were ordered to be demolished for having been constructed without sanction but the top court had earlier stayed the decision. On Wednesday, the court allowed use of floors but clarified that it would not create any right in favour of hospital.

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