Skip to main content

Delhi HC rules in favour of retired Air Force officer 'overcharged' for Covid treatment

By Rosamma Thomas* 

In a decision of May 22, 2023, the Delhi High Court ruled in favour of petitioner Group Captain Suresh Khanna who was under treatment at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, between April 28 and May 5, 2021, for a period of eight days, for Covid-19 pneumonia. The petitioner had to pay Rs 3,55,286 as treatment costs, but the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) only reimbursed him for Rs 1,83,748, on the basis of government-approved rates. 
The Union of India, the respondent in this case, made the argument that the hospital had charged beyond the government-approved rates. Justice Pratibha M Singh, in her ruling, noted precedents in law including Dinesh Kumar v Government of the National Territory of Delhi, where it was established that “reimbursement has to be given to the beneficiaries and that it was incumbent upon the concerned government or authority to obtain recovery from the hospital”. 
She also cited the instance of the case of Squadron Commander Randeep Kumar Rana where the Division Bench held that the employer was under obligation to pay the government employee, and could make appropriate recoveries in accordance with law from the hospital which had overcharged him. Citing the earlier judgment at length, the ruling of May 22, 2023 noted:
“How a citizen can ensure that a hospital does not charge over and above the package rate? The power to lay down guidelines is with the respondent. A citizen is a mere spectator to what State authority do and decide. 
"If the hospital has charged over and above the package rate, the respondent is under an obligation to pay to such charges as the Petitioner has incurred over the package rates at the first instance and if in law state can recover from the hospital concerned, they may do so but they cannot deny their liability to pay to the Government employee who is entitled for medical reimbursement.”
The court ruled that Group Captain Khanna be reimbursed the differential amount of Rs 1,71,528 by July 2023
The ruling cited Shiva Kant Jha v. Union of India, 2018 16 SCC 187, while stating that the Supreme Court “has emphasized that the real test for ascertaining the claim for reimbursement must be the factum of treatment”. The claim, the judgment ruled, cannot be refused on technical grounds. Citing the SC ruling, the judge stated: 
“It is a settled legal position that the government employee during his lifetime or after his retirement is entitled to get the benefit of the medical facilities and no fetters can be placed on his rights…The right to medical claim cannot be denied merely because the name of the hospital is not included in the Government Order. 
"The real test must be the factum of treatment. Before any medical claim is honoured, the authorities are bound to ensure as to whether the claimant had actually taken treatment and the factum of treatment is supported by records duly certified by doctors/hospitals concerned. Once it is established, the claim cannot be denied on technical grounds.”
The court ruled that Group Captain Khanna be reimbursed the differential amount of Rs 1,71,528 by July 2023. If payment is delayed, interest at 6% will be liable to be paid from the date when the application of reimbursement was made. If payment is made in the stipulated time, no interest is liable to be paid. The respondent is also free to take action against CK Birla Hospital, in respect of overcharge, if any, including seeking refund of the overcharged amount.
The ruling is significant for all veterans of the defence forces and government employees, and even for citizens in general since the government is pushing for wider insurance coverage – Insurance Regulatory Authority of India is currently planning an all-in-one insurance policy that will cover health, accident, theft, death, and provide households with monetary support in case of illness in the family. 
New players will be allowed to enter the insurance market to serve untapped needs of specialized segments of society. The insurance regulator’s history of complaint redressal, however, is far from impressive and massive insurance scams have been reported but poorly investigated.
*Free lance journalist


laxman said…
Based on this judgement the Govt should issue clear instruction on the subject so as to keep all govt dept orministries on the same grid . No defence pensioner must suffer in future.


Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.