Health treatment has to be provided to all citizens irrespective of place of residence: Delhi HC

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In a plea filed by a Bihar man alleging that Delhi’s Lok Nayak Hospital provides free MRI test facility only to the residents of the national capital, the Delhi High Court Tuesday observed hospitals cannot deny treatment to those coming from outside.

A single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh made the observation while hearing a plea moved by the Bihar resident seeking an MRI test of his left knee. He claimed he was suffering pain in his left knee and went to the state government-run Lok Nayak Hospital. The petitioner alleged a “discriminatory approach” adopted by the hospital wherein he was told that a “free of cost MRI test facility is available to residents of Delhi only who possess voter Id Card of Delhi and others have to take the test at their own cost”.

The petitioner claimed he was given a date of July 15, 2024, claiming “it is done under a written or unwritten policy of the respondent Government of NCT of Delhi” and this action by the hospital was arbitrary, without any authority in law and violative of the Constitution.

Referring to a 2018 judgment passed by the HC in Social Jurist v Govt of NCT Delhi, the HC observed, “The perusal of the judgment…makes it very clear that in so far as a health treatment is concerned, the treatment has to be provided to all citizens without any consideration as to the place of residence”.

The counsel for Delhi Government argued no discriminatory policy was adopted by the hospital and that the dates were given based on availability. He said there was nothing on record to show that the petitioner was asked to furnish his voter ID card.

After it was submitted that the MRI test will be conducted by the hospital, the Delhi High Court asked the petitioner about his availability for the test. The court also directed that the MRI test will be conducted on December 26 at 11 am and disposed of the petition.



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