[Overcharging of Covid-19 patients] Supreme Court issues notice on plea seeking mechanism for audit of bills of patients' complaining of being over-charged

  • Aishwarya Iyer
  • 01:35 PM, 13 Oct 2021

The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition which sought a direction to the Central and the State Governments to set up a mechanism for scrutinizing and auditing the bills of Covid-19 patients who had complained of being over-charged by private hospitals.

Filed in public interest under Article 32 of the Constitution, the plea submits that during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, patients had to take recourse to seeking medical facilities in private hospitals as a result of the inadequacy of the public health infrastructure and there were widespread complaints of over-charging of hapless patients.

"Families, including of those who did not survive the pandemic, have been brought to economic ruin, as a result", the court was told.

The petitioner, Abhinav Thapar also relied upon certain instances where local bodies, such as the Pune Municipal Corporation, have issued notice to private hospitals for over-charging patients and ensured refund of excess amounts charged.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna thus noted,

"The issue which has been raised in the petition concerns a wide strata of society consisting of patients and their relatives who have been over-charged during the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue which has been raised would merit serious attention."

With this view, the court issued notice to the Union of India, returnable in four weeks.

Cause Title: Abhinav Thapar v Union of India and Anr.

Click here to access a copy of the Order.