HC declines to entertain a plea seeking free COVID-19 testing, treatment for all at Pvt labs, hospitals


The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea seeking free of charge COVID-19 testing and treatment in the national capital for everyone, rich or poor at all private labs and hospitals, saying PILs should be filed with “some responsibility”.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said it would dismiss the petition with costs after which the petitioner’s counsel sought to withdraw the plea.
“The petition is disposed of as not pressed at this stage,” the court said.

The petitioner, Sushant Mishra, sought directions to the Centre and the Delhi government to bear the cost of testing and treatment for COVID-19 at private labs and hospitals, remove reservation of beds for the economically weaker section (EWS), reimburse costs on testing and treatment already incurred by patients and providing ex-gratia compensation to families of those who succumbed to coronavirus.

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After perusing the relief sought by Mishra, the court remarked that the petition has been filed for the benefit of rich people.

The court suggested that the petitioner file such pleas for the benefit of the poor who cannot afford the costly treatment or testing for COVID-19.

“Don’t mix it up like this,” it said.

The bench also said that the reliefs sought are part of the policy decisions of the government, the Centre or states, which will decide who is eligible for benefits like free treatment and ex-gratia compensation.

It further said the Delhi government was the only one to offer Rs 1 crore as ex-gratia to families of frontline health workers who have succumbed to the virus, so “let them work”.

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“It is better that we do not interfere.” the bench said.

During the hearing, the Delhi government told the court that it was providing free treatment for COVID at all of its hospitals

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