The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued the direction on Friday while recording the submission of the institution that merely because there was no previous government mandate or agreement with it as to how payments would be made, the institution had to charge for tests and medicine, particularly expensive antibiotics and even steroids, to provide instant treatment to the patients.
However, recording the assertion of the institution that the government could not expect a private party to continuously fund the treatment without being reimbursed periodically, the bench said: “This submission gives more credence to the issue raised by the petitioner that patients were required to make some payments whether for tests or for medicines or for treatment when such patients ought not to have been charged anything at all since it was deemed to be a government hospital.”
Also, noting the Puducherry government’s submission that some payments have been made and that subsequent bills needed to be looked into, the bench said, “It is understandable that there will be a time lag between the money spent and the bills raised, and a further time lag between the bills received and payments made upon ascertaining the veracity.”
The bench directed the institute to disclose the particulars of the patients from whom it collected some charges directly, and asked the territorial government to complete the exercise within eight weeks.
The bench also sought the petitioner and government to make all patients who have made payments be aware that they were entitled to reimbursement.