BMC rejecting private lab tests, private hospital overcharging Covid-19 patients, alleges PIL in Mumbai High Court
The PIL alleges that some private hospitals were not only refusing admission to suspected coronavirus patients but also overcharging them.
The Bombay High Court has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to be made a party to the public interest litigation (PIL) that accuses the influential civic body of putting people through unnecessary hardship by not accepting coronavirus tests conducted at private labs.
The PIL also seeks the court’s intervention alleging some private hospital was not admitting Covid-19 patients and or overcharging them for treatment.
Hearing the petition, the Bombay High Court asked the petitioner to implead the municipal commissioner, Iqbal Chahal into the case. The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice S S Shinde was of the opinion that the presence of the civic chief was necessary to adjudicate such matters.
The PIL filed by Sarika Singh, a resident of Kurla, cited the case of a police constable who was allegedly asked to deposit Rs 2 lakh by a private hospital in Vashi for admission when he approached them with Covid-19 like symptoms.
According to the petition, the constable was made to wait for around five hours since he couldn’t arrange for the hefty sum. It was only after the local police station allegedly threatened to file an FIR against the hospital authorities for refusing a suspected coronavirus case that they admitted him with a reduced deposit of Rs 20,000. The PIL also points out that police personnel are covered by the Aarogya Kutumb Yojana, an insurance cover provided by the centre and therefore private hospitals had no business refusing them admission.
The high court directed the state and the BMC to respond to the grievances raised and posted the PIL for further hearing on May 22.
The BMC will also have to explain if it was forcing people cleared by private labs to take fresh Covid-19 tests as alleged by the petitioner.