Hyderabad court directs hospitals not to collect registration fee, penalises Apollo

Calling it an “unfair and restrictive” practice, the court directed all hospitals in Hyderabad district to stop collecting registration fees.
Consumer rights
Consumer rights
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A consumer court in Hyderabad directed the Telangana Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare to take steps to stop hospitals from collecting money in the name of registration fee. Calling it an “unfair and restrictive” practice, the court directed that all hospitals in Hyderabad district must stop collecting registration fees. The judgement came after a consumer, Vijay Gopal, complained against the Jubilee Hills branch of Apollo Hospitals for charging a registration fee. The order has also specifically directed the hospital to stop collecting registration fees from patients, and slapped a fine of Rs 3,000 towards litigation cost and Rs 10,000 as compensation on the hospital for the ‘mental agony’ caused to the complainant.

In a statement, Vijay said that he had visited the hospital on June 15, 2019 to consult a doctor for his mother and they were made to pay Rs 200 as registration fee, apart from Rs 900 as a doctor consultation fee. However, the hospital did not provide any receipt for the Rs 200 that was charged, and VIjay was told to collect the same later on June 19, during his second visit to the hospital.

“I am glad that the court has directed Apollo Hospitals and all such other hospitals to stop this practice of Rs 200 registration fee collection  and asked Medical Health officials to ensure this is curbed across hospitals in Hyderabad,” Vijay Gopal said in his statement. The statement further added, “Particularly, I am disappointed that the hospital was not issued any penalty to be submitted to the court for their actions, as I had requested the court to levy Rs 10 lakh in penalty. The hospital probably made millions through their restrictive trade practice, yet, no penalty was levied on them. I hope the consumer courts do more than just issuing compensation to complainants, and also levy significant financial penalties on the culprits.”

In December 2019, after the same case had come to light, the branch of the hospital was penalised by the Hyderabad GST department for issuing bills, allegedly without mentioning the Rs 200 registration fee that was charged. At the time, the hospital was fined Rs 50,000.

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