Rape victims charged for treatment at govt hospital

  • Navrajdeep Singh, None, Patiala
  • Updated: Jun 15, 2014 21:56 IST

The directions of the state government to give free treatment to rape victims at government hospitals are not being followed as two rape victims in the recent cases were made to pay for medical services.

Two rape cases have been reported in Patiala district in the past three days.

The victims were admitted to Government Rajindra College, Patiala, and Rajpura civil hospital.

Besides charging money from the families of rape victim, the authorities at Rajindra hospital made victim to wait in the X-ray department for almost two hours.

When the Hindustan Times team went to meet victim's family on Friday, it was found that the authorities concerned directed the family to pay for X-ray and ultrasound in order to get reports from the departments concerned.

Even police employees accompanying the victim and her family members were unaware of the government guidelines.

"Even after being briefed about the sensitivity of the case, the authorities failed to do the test early. When a woman constable went to collect reports, the hospital authorities asked her to pay stipulated charges for the test," said the head constable accompanying victim's family.

Similarly, a 12-year-old beggar, who was admitted to the Rajpura civil hospital on June 14, was made to make payments for clinical and other tests.

Principal of the college Dr KD Singh said the directions were already being followed in the hospitals and employees of department concerned were strictly instructed to strictly abide by the guidelines.

"I will look into the matter and will ensure that money charged for different tests from victims' families are reimbursed at the earliest," he said.

* Directions issued by state government

On April 24, aiming to provide immediate first aid treatment, the Punjab Government issued a notification pertaining to provide free treatment to acid attack and rape victims, not only in government health institutions but in private hospitals also.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier directed Punjab to frame a policy that would ensure free treatment for victims of acid attacks on lines of Haryana.

In its notification to all civil surgeons, principals and medical superintendents of all medical colleges, the health department quoted that after amendments in section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedures 1973, it has been provided that all hospitals- public or private- whether run by the central government, the state government, local bodies, or any other person shall immediately provide first aid or medical treatment, free of cost.

The notifications stated that the victims of any offence covered under section 326-A (acid attack victim), 376 (rape victim), 376-A, 376-B , 376-C , 376-D and 376-E (all relating to rape) of the Indian Penal Code will be given free first aid treatment, while the hospital authorities should immediately inform the police of such incidents.

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