The Delhi High Court, which made it compulsory for private hospitals to treat accident and rape victims, has asked the Delhi government and the Centre to decide on how to reimburse the expenses incurred.
"It is up to the city and central government to devise rules or mechanism for reimbursing the expenses incurred on the treatment by these private hospitals. It needs to be ensured that such patients are not refused admission merely due to uncertainty over reimbursement of expenses," a bench of chief justice D Murugesan and justice VK Jain said.
The government, through a circular issued on February 24, had said it would proceed against hospitals and even cancel their registration if it was found that they turned away accident or rape victims. This was following an order of the court on January 31 that private hospitals should admit all victims of crimes like rape and accident in need of emergency care.
The order had come on a plea raised by lawyer Meera Bhatia who said the life of the December 16 gang rape victim could have been saved had the police admitted her to a nearby private hospital in Mahipalpur.
The police had taken the victim to Safdarjung Hospital, which was the nearest government hospital.
The court said the list of hospitals should be pasted on all PCR vans so that policemen manning it know the place where victims have to be taken.
The bench directed the government to give wide publicity to the court order to ensure that the public was aware of it and hospitals also take necessary steps.
Currently, most private hospitals refuse to admit victims of medico-legal cases, forcing the police to go in search of a government hospital. This wastes precious time because of which many victims lose their lives.