COVID patients from EWS category not expected to show their income certificates at hospitals: Bombay HC


Abdul Shoeb Shaikh v.s. KJ Somaiya Hospital

- Abdul Shoeb Shaikh along with his six family members, residents of Bharat Nagar slum rehabilitation building were charged Rs.12.5 lakh by the KJ Somaiya Hospital (run by a charitable trust) for Covid treatment.

- The counsel representing the hospital said that it was for the family to produce a tehsildar certificate or certificate from Social Welfare Officer for their income in order to get the benefits of the MPT Act.

The Maharashtra Public Trusts(MPT) Act

- An Act to regulate and to make better provision for the administration of public religious and charitable trusts in the State of Bombay.

- Section 41AA of the Maharashtra Public Trust empowers the Charity Commissioner and the State Government to issue directions in respect of hospitals to earmark certain beds for weaker section of the people under Section 41AA(4)(c) and for an indigent person under Section 41AA(4)(b).

Section 41AA(4)(b)“indigent person” means a person whose total annual income does not exceed three thousand and six hundred rupees or such other limits as the State Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette.

Section 41AA(4)(c) “person belonging to the weaker sections of      the people” means a person who is not a indigent person, but whose income does not exceed fifteen thousand rupees per annum or such other limit as the State Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette.

Declaration by the COURT

- The Division Bench of Justice R.D. Dhanuka and Justice Madhav Jamdar declared “prima facie a person who is suffering from COVID-19 is not expected to produce a certificate before seeking admission in the hospital for benefits.”

- It also appeared before the court that the hospital was supposed to reserve 10% of beds under the MPT Act for the weaker and indigent sections each, i.e. 90 beds in total, had only admitted 3 patients from the categories since March.

- The judges also said, “We are not inclined to accept the submission made by the senior counsel that unless such certificate is produced by the family at the threshold, the hospital is not liable to admit any such patient under those categories in the precarious situation prevailing at the date of admission of the petitioners,” and directed the hospital to deposit 10,06,205 in two weeks.

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