The Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that it will start providing free treatment to poor patients to the extent of 25 per cent in the out-patient department (OPD) and 10 per cent in the in-patient department (IPD) from March 1.
The statement was made by the hospital’s counsel before a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma on a public interest litigation, which had alleged that the institute had not provided free treatment to poor patients in the last two decades.
The court took the hospital’s voluntary stand on record and directed it to provide treatment to the poor as undertaken by it.
“In light of the statement, the hospital is directed to provide 25 per cent OPD and 10 per cent IPD to EWS patients. The petition is disposed of,” the bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, said.
NGO Social Jurist, represented by advocate Ashok Aggarwal, had moved the high court in 2018 and contended that the hospital was allotted land by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on concessional rates on the condition that it would provide free treatment to poor patients to the extent of 10 per cent in the IPD and 25 per cent in the OPD, but was not doing so.
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Aggarwal had earlier argued that the high court in 2007 and the Supreme Court in July 2018 had said hospitals that were allotted land on concessional rates would have to provide free treatment to poor patients to the extent of 10 per cent in the IPD and 25 per cent in the OPD.
However, the hospital had not provided free treatment to any poor patient in the last two decades, the NGO had alleged and claimed that in this manner, it had earned “unwarranted profits”, which it was liable to pay to the government for the good of the society.
The NGO had sought directions to the hospital to forthwith provide free treatment to poor patients in accordance with the land allotment conditions.
It had also requested the court to direct the Delhi government to initiate the process for the recovery of the “unwarranted profits” earned by the hospital by not providing free treatment to poor patients.