Courts Update Manipur High Court directs state to ensure treatment to...

Manipur High Court directs state to ensure treatment to patients other than COVID-19, with equal care

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Imphal, Jun 10 (ILNS) The Manipur High Court on June 08, taking note of the fact that many of the grievances of the petitioner seeking medical care for emergency patients were addressed so disposed of the Public Interest Litigation filed on the issue that Government and private hospitals in the State not providing treatment to patients requiring emergency medical care.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice K H Nobin Singh in the light of the orders issued by the State held that “the grievances canvassed in this writ petition, filed in public interest, stand adequately redressed. Though, Mr. B.P.Sahu, senior counsel for the petitioner, would state that the Government must also ensure strict implementation of its orders, it is clear from the orders that any violation thereof would be viewed seriously,” the court remarked.

The PIL was filed by an Advocate Khwairakpam Tomba Singh ventilating two grievances. The first grievance was with regard to Government and private hospitals in the State not providing treatment to patients requiring emergency medical care due to serious illness or owing to accidents, on the ground that priority was to be given only to Covid-19 patients. The second grievance was with regard to private hospitals in the State charging exorbitant fees for treatment, and more particularly, from Covid-19 patients.

The Court issued the notice with certain directions and in Compliance the State authorities filed an Affidavit on June 01,2021. It was brought out that the State Government, in exercise of power under Section 2(a)(iii) of the Manipur Essential Services Maintenance Act 2010, Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and Section 22 (2)(h) and Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, issued an order on May, 26, 2021 fixing the maximum rate for treatment of Covid-19 patients in private hospitals.

Further, private hospitals which were empaneled with the State Government, for treating Government employees and their dependents, were informed that the charges for treatment, investigation and hospitalization, including room rent for such Government employees/ dependents, should not be higher than those chargeable by the C.G.H.S. hospitals in the nearest city included in the C.G.H.S. Scheme.

The State Government had earlier issued an order on August 06, 2020 instructing the Government hospitals and private hospitals to ensure that all patients who reach their facilities are attended to promptly, especially emergency and time-bound cases. Each hospital/healthcare facility was required to designate responsible staff to ensure that there was no denial of service.

The order recorded the fact that many healthcare facilities were denying services to patients due to Covid-19 pandemic and the Ministries concerned had issued instructions to hospitals and all related medical establishments, both in the public and the private sector, to continue to remain functional. It was further made clear that any violations would be viewed very severely and action would be taken under the Manipur Nursing Homes and Clinical Registration Act, 1992, apart from the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

It was clarified by the Court that “in the event of any violation of the afore stated orders being brought to its notice, the State Government shall take necessary punitive action against the erring hospital/medical establishment as per due procedure, irrespective of the identity of the party that brings such violation to its notice.”/ILNS/SNG

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