Delhi HC Grants Full Reimbursement Of Expenses To Court Staff After 16 Years Incurred For Son's Cancer Treatment
The Delhi High Court directed the government to fully reimburse the petitioner and expressed its deep dismay, as to how the deceased petitioner, a government employee was made to run from pillar to post, for 16 years, seeking reimbursement of Rs. 51,824/- incurred by him for his son’s cancer treatment.
The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed that “It is no longer res integra that these provisions are required to be construed liberally in order to achieve the objectives aimed for and any interpretation which makes the rules pedantic and too technical must be avoided as then the entire purpose of enacting such rules would become futile and fall to the ground.”
The petitioner, now deceased, was a government employee who served as a reader in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate Tis Hazari Court and hence, he and his dependents were covered under the Central Government (Medical Attendance) Rules, 1944 (the Rules). The deceased petitioner’s son was suffering from brain tumour for which the medical advances were claimed by the Petitioner as per the applicable rules.
But the petitioner was not fully reimbursed, and letter was issued wherein he was directed to deposit a sum of Rs. 51,854/- against the medical advance granted to him. The petitioner made representation to provide the details of the deductions but the representation was rejected.
Subsequently, an order was passed by the District & Session Judge, directing the recovery of amount of Rs. 51,854/- from the pay of the Petitioner. Aggrieved of the said deductions and the order of District Judge, the petitioner preferred the Writ petition before the High Court.
As per the Rules, all the expenses incurred upon by a government servant towards the medical treatment of himself or his dependants had to be free of charge and any amount that was paid by him on account of such medical attention or treatment would be reimbursed fully to such government servant.
Advocate Rajat Aneja appeared for the petitioner and Standing Counsel Avnish Ahlawat appeared for the respondent.
The issue dealt with was “Whether in a case where the actual medical expenditure in a government recognized hospital is more than the approved rates as per applicable rules, the excess amount is liable to be recovered from the beneficiary Government employee?”
The Court noted that the treatment undertaken by the Petitioner’s son was permissible as per the applicable rules as the disease was not an ordinary one but special in nature and that the respondents had acted arbitrarily in making the deductions and reimbursing 90% of the expenses incurred.
It was contended by the respondents that after scrutinizing the bills and calculating his entitlement as per applicable rules, he was found to be entitled for a grant of Rs.1,82,146/- against the bills submitted by him for Rs. 2,28,429/-.
The Court rejected the contention and observed that “the medical attendance rules formulated by Central and State Governments are not merely the rules relating to medical attendance, but are the beneficiary piece of legislation to facilitate good and sound health for all the government employees and their families. It does not stand to reason as to why any impediments are read in the rules which have the tendency to defeat the cherished Constitutional rights for which this Court has always stood as a custodian.”
Therefore, the Court observed that the respondents could not deny the reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred even on the basis that the amount charged by the hospital had exceeded the approved rates and said “the Petitioner cannot be faulted or penalised to pay the excess amount that was charged from him from the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, when Petitioner in the first instance did not even choose the Hospital but was referred there.”
Accordingly, the petition was allowed.
Cause Title- Mahendra Kumar Verma v. Govt. Of NCT of Delhi & Ors.