Taking cognisance of complaints of COVID-19 patients struggling to get beds at private hospitals and concerns raised over the price of treatment and hospital stay, the Karnataka High Court on Monday initiated a suo motu public interest litigation.
Deccan Herald reported that the division bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy took cognisance of letters by lawyers including by the Advocates Association of Bengaluru (AAB). The report said that the letters addressed to the judges stressed upon the inconvenience people had to face in search of beds.
The Hindu reported while one of the letters was sent by the AAB, there was another email by advocate P Anu Chengappa, which was sent as a PIL.
DH quoted the court order saying that the registrar should register the writ petition on the issues of COVID-19 management by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, and on charges that individuals have to pay for treatment in private set-ups, especially those needing critical care. The Centre, the Karnataka government and the BBMP will be made parties to the case.
The report mentions that one letter written by the advocates’ association had said that the government approved package was too overpriced and was set keeping the interest of private medical establishments and not that of patients. Further, the letter mentioned that these high rates were fixed as the state government failed to manage the pandemic on its own.
It said that the rate fixed by the government, along with the hospitals, for patients seeking admission directly through the hospitals without the intervention of the government.
Advocate Chengappa, citing various news reports, said that there were incidents where even though beds were available in private hospitals, patients were not allowed in and even non-COVID-19 patients were suffering from inadequate medical attention.
The Hindu report said that Chengappa’s email also mentioned incidents of alleged harassment and trauma faced by patients and their families at the behest of BBMP officials.