New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to Delhi government and an NGO, Social Jurist, on a petition challenging Delhi High Court order directing private hospitals and nursing homes in Delhi which have been given land at concessional rates to provide free medicines and treatment to poor patients.
The petitioner Dharamshila Hospital and Research Centre contended before the bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices RV Raveendran and VS Sirpurkar that free treatment to 25 per cent poor patients does not include free medicines which are sometimes very costly.
The notices are returnable within three weeks. These hospitals, nursing homes and schools were allotted land at highly concessional rates and providing free treatment to 25 per cent poor patients and free education to 25 per cent students belonging to weaker sections of society is a pre-condition for land allotment virtually at throwaway prices.
These private hospitals and nursing homes after getting land at subsidised rates have been reluctant in giving free medical treatment to the poor. Social Jurist, an NGO, had moved the High Court seeking directions to these hospitals and nursing homes to provide free medical treatment which included supply of medicines free of cost.
The apex court issued notices confined only to the issue whether supply of free medicines formed an integral part of free medical treatment.