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The Bombay high court on June 16 asked a Litigant who filed a PIL asking the state government to bear the costs of all COVID-19 victims in the hospital across Maharashtra, to pay Rs 5 lakhs. The court also termed the prayer preposterous.
A division bench of chief justice Dipanka Datta and justice S S Shinde was hearing public interest litigations filed by educationist Sagar Jondhale. The petitions had said the government should be directed to provide free Covid-19 treatment at all hospitals, including private facilities, across Maharashtra.
Advocate Anand Jondhale, who appeared for Sagar Jondhale, and advocate Varsha Jagdale, who represented Sarika Singh, argued that the charges that hospitals sought from patients was resulting in profiteering in the absence of any clear orders.
The petitioners also asked the court to direct the state government to provide free COVID-19 treatment to all citizens in all hospitals, including private institutions, except to those covered by insurance schemes.
The petition was dismissed by the sitting bench, who termed it as preposterous.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, along with government pleader Poornima Kantharia, said that due to the magnitude of COVID-19 cases, the prayers of the petitioners were unfounded as the state could not be expected to pay for treatment of all patients.
Kumbhakoni said the state is taking all measures to ensure that testing and treatment for the Coronavirus is available to everyone, and the demand for free treatment by the petitioners was misplaced. He said the PILs should be dismissed with costs.
Terming Jondhale's petition as frivolous and preposterous, the court directed him to pay Rs 5 lakh.
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