Delhi High Court: In a petition filed under Article 226 of Constitution of India seeking reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred by the Petitioner for the treatment of his son for brain tumor in accordance with the relevant rules applicable to the Petitioner being employed in the Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi as a Reader in the Court of the Metropolitan Magistrate and covered by the Central Government (Medical Attendance) Rules, 1944 and the orders passed there under from time to time, Chandra Dhari Singh, J., directed the respondent- State to fully reimburse the Petitioner to the extent of bills raised by both the Hospitals, and to release the amount retained in the FDR, along with interest accrued from time to time, deducted from the salary or allowances of the petitioner as soon as possible, but positively within a period of four weeks from the date of the judgment.
The Petitioner was not fully reimbursed against the medical expenditure of his son’s ailment and further, the Petitioner was issued a letter dated 6-08-2004 from Drawing & Disbursing Officer, Officers of District and Sessions Judge, Delhi, Respondent 3 herein, asking him to deposit a sum of Rs. 51,854/- against the medical advance granted to him from time to time of Rs. 2,34,000/- for the medical treatment of his son in Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute.
In view of the representation made by the Petitioner, Respondent 3 sought the opinion of the Director, Directorate of Health Services, as to why the Petitioner should not be fully reimbursed for the medical expenses incurred for his son’s treatment. This representation was rejected and subsequently, the District & Session Judge, Delhi passed the order for recovery of amount of Rs. 51,854/- from the pay of the Petitioner. Hence, aggrieved by the said deductions as well as by the demand of Rs. 51,824/- sought by the Respondents, the Petitioner filed the instant writ petition.
On perusal of the CS (MA) Rules, 1944 that the medical attendance rules formulated by the Central and State Governments are not merely the rules relating to medical attendance but are the beneficiary piece of legislation to facilitate good and sound health for all the government employees and their families. It does not stand to reason as to why any impediments are read in the rules which have the tendency to defeat the cherished Constitutional rights for which this Court has always stood as a custodian.
Therefore, these provisions are required to be construed liberally in order to achieve the objectives aimed for and any interpretation which makes the rules pedantic and too technical must be avoided as then the entire purpose of enacting such rules would become futile and fall to the ground.
The Court further noted that that when the Petitioner is recommended to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, the Respondents cannot deny the reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred even on the basis that the amount charged by the hospital has exceeded the approved rates. Thus, the petitioner cannot be faulted or penalised to pay the excess amount that was charged from him from the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, when Petitioner in the first instance did not even choose the Hospital but was referred there.
The Court remarked that it is unable to figure out even a single provision of law which has been taken in support by the Respondents to justify the deductions made in the claim of the Petitioner. Merely making a statement that calculations have been made in accordance with the relevant rules applicable to the Petitioner will not help.
The Court held that it cannot be disputed that the Petitioner was entitled to be fully reimbursed for the expenses incurred by him in the treatment of his minor child and directed the State to fully reimburse the Petitioner to the extent of bills raised by both the Hospitals, and to release the amount retained in the FDR, along with interest accrued from time to time, deducted from the salary or allowances of the Petitioner as soon as possible, but positively within a period of four weeks from the date of this judgment.
[Mahendra Kumar Verma v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 75, decided on 09-01-2023]
Judgment by: Justice Chandra Dhari Singh
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Rajat Aneja and Ms. Palak Vasisth, Advocates, for the Petitioner;
Mrs. Avnish Ahlawat, Standing Counsel (Services) with Mr. N. K. Singh, Mrs. Tania Ahlawat and Ms. Laavanya Kaushik, Advocates, for the Respondent-State.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.