Hyderabad: Provide proof of overcharging of Private hospitals treating COVID patients, otherwise they would remain vague allegations, said the High court while hearing a PIL.

A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Telangana High Court on 1 July sought a directive to prevent rampant profiteering by private, corporate, and teaching hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in Hyderabad and other parts of the state.

The PIL also requested the court to direct the government to take over at least 50 percent of the beds in these hospitals and evolve a transparent web-based mechanism in allotting beds to needy patients and provide treatment at the rates already fixed by the government.

The PIL was filed by D.G. Narasimha Rao, the general secretary of Patnam, a forum for the development of urban areas in Telangana.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy directed the counsel for the petitioner to implead the private and corporate hospitals charged with collecting exorbitant fees as they were necessary parties to the litigation. It also wanted the petitioner to provide proof of such overcharging since otherwise they would remain vague allegations.

The petitioner had, in his petition, annexed several newspaper reports published in prominent dailies from Hyderabad, detailing how the corporate hospitals were collecting nearly Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1,50,000 per day from COVID-19 patients. The government had capped these rates at Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 9,000 per day. The petitioner pointed out that none of these hospitals were implementing the rates fixed by the government and were charging exorbitant rates.

He explained that these hospitals were taking advantage of the fact that several patients were flocking to private hospitals due to the pathetic conditions in government hospitals. The petitioner was aggrieved by the inaction on the part of the government in ensuring the implementation of its own orders in this regard and sought a direction from the court for the same.

The Bench posted the case to 10 July after directing the counsel for the petitioner to implead the private and corporate hospitals as parties to the case

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