Medical bills not paid, Delhi High Court raps govt

Medical bills not paid, HC raps govt

 

Abhinav Garg | TNN

 

New Delhi: Slamming government departments for vacillating when it comes to reimbursing money spent by employees on medical treatment, the Delhi High Court has diagnosed this as one of the key reasons for burdening of courts.
   A division bench comprising of Justice S K Kaul and Justice M C Garg recently ordered the ministry of defence to cough up nearly Rs three lakh to one of its employees who had undergone a heart surgery but was was being denied re-imbursement.
   Irked at departments dithering over paying re-imbursement, despite clear law laid down by the Supreme Court and high court, the bench slapped a cost of Rs 10,000 on the ministry, asking it to split it between K N S Bindra — the employee — and the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee.
   ‘‘The saga of persons not being paid full re-imbursement for medical expenses incurred and thus being compelled to approach this court doesn’t seem to end as government authorities continue to ignore legal principles settled by SC,’’ a dismayed bench noted as it dealt with the petition filed by Bindra who had to undergo a sudden open heart surgery at Escorts Hospital in the Capital.
   Bindra had first sought permission from his ministry to undergo an angiography test for which he got the go ahead, the tests then warranted an immediate open heart surgery for which again the ministry granted permission in June 2001.
   Bindra informed HC that his treatment cost him a little over Rs 2,50,000 but he received only Rs 1,94,400 from the ministry initially. Bindra’s woes worsened when the ministry began deducting money from his salary after concluding that extra amount had been given to Bindra than was assessed.
   This forced him to move HC seeking a direction for compensation of full amount since Escorts is a recognised Hospital under the CGHS scheme. He also sought a stay on amounts being deducted from his salary.
   The bench made shot down claims by the ministry that government circulars stipulate a fixed amount available for its employees. The court pointed out that it was for the government and the concerned hospital to settle the dues if hospital charged more and the employee-patient shouldn’t be made to suffer by denying him/her full reimbursement.
   abhinav.garg@timesgroup.com

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