COVID-19 | Bom HC | Person under EWS or Indigent persons category, if suffering from COVID-19, is not expected to produce any certificate of proof to seek admission in hospital & avail benefits

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of R.D. Dhanuka and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., held that, a person suffering from COVID-19 falling under the category of EWS or Indigent persons is not required to show any certificate or proof for the same before getting admitted in a hospital to avail benefits under Section 41AA (4)(c) and (d) of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act.

Undisputed position in the present matter

Scheme prescribed under Section 41AA of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act empowering 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 indigent person under Section 41AA(4)(b) is applicable to the respondent 1 — Trust.

Respondent 1 was required to reserve 105 beds for weaker section of the people and 10% beds for indigent persons out of the operational beds, no such beds were provided.

Record indicated that only 3 patients were admitted by respondent 1 in the month of March, 2020 out of 90 beds earmarked for indigent persons and persons belonging to the weaker section of the people under Section 41 AA(4)(c) and (b) respectively.

What is the respondent’s case in view of the above?

Petitioner did not belong to the above-mentioned categories nor did they produce any documents to prove the same.

Petitioner’s Case

Petitioners having suffered from COVID-19 required immediate help and were not required to produce such any certificate at the threshold while seeking admission in the hospital.

Following are the questions that require consideration in the present matter:

Whether it was the duty of the Management of respondent 1 to enquire whether the persons seeking admission in the respondent 1 hospital were falling under the category of Section 41AA(4)(b) and (c) or not;

or whether such patients were required to produce at the threshold the certificates of Tehsildar and Social Welfare Officer before seeking admission in the situation faced by the petitioners for patient of COVID?

Court’s opinion

In prima facie view, Court stated that a person suffering from COVID-19 is not expected to produce a Tehsildar certificate or from Social Welfare Officer before seeking admission in the hospital and to seek benefits under Section 41AA (4)(c) and (d).

Thus, in view of the above, respondent 1 is directed to submit Rs 10,06,205 in this Court.  [Abdul Shoeb Shaikh v. K.J. Somaiya Hospital, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 731 , decided on 26-06-2020]

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