THD NewsDesk, NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has awarded one last opportunity to the Maharashtra government to defend its competency to determine the price-ceiling for medical treatments of non-COVID patients at private hospitals. The dispute arose on the jurisdiction of a state government while directing a private entity to restrict its prices, concerning the notifications issued by the government on May 21.
The May 21 notification issued by Maharashtra government has stabilized rates for treating Covid and non-Covid patients in private hospitals/nursing homes/clinics across the state. The government, recognizing the need to prevent overcharging during a grave health crisis, directed the private hospitals to go by the prescribed rates.
The division bench comprised of justices Ravi Deshpande and Pushpa Ganediwala which notified the state government that on the failure of providing a reasonable rationale for its guidelines, the Court would have to stay its order against regulating the prices for non-Covid patients admitted in private hospitals and nursing homes. The Court came into action when hearing petitions by Dr Pradeep Arora, who runs a nursing home and Hospital Association filed petitions demanding a stay order on the government’s notifications.
AGP Anand Deshpande pleaded the Court for a week to file a reply. However, the bench instructed him to answer within two days, after Dr Arora contended against the request.
Various hospitals apart from the petitioners have questioned the legitimacy of Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s notices to private hospitals as state governments are not authorized to fix rates for the diagnosis and treatment of non-Covid patients. They labelled it as “gross abuse and misuse of powers” by the civic officials in their petition. The powers and functions of a state government have always remained an area of contention, and only the next hearing of the Court will be able to produce more clarity on the issue.