The Delhi High Court's bench of Justice Rekha Palli has directed the Delhi Government to pay an amount of Rs.16,93,880 to the Additional District Judge as reimbursement for the expenses incurred by him for his Covid treatment.

The Additional District Judge, Dinesh Kumar, posted in Saket Court had to be rushed to the nearest hospital last year due to his dropping levels of oxygen. He had remained on ventilator for a period of three weeks.

He paid Rs. 24,02,380/- as demanded by the hospital against appropriate receipts. He was reimbursed only a sum of Rs.7,08,500/-.

He was refused payment of the balance sum of Rs.16,93,880/- on the ground that the amount was charged by the hospital by ignoring the rates prescribed under the circular dated June 20, 2020 issued by the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD), fixing the charges leviable for treatment of patients suffering from Covid.

Senior advocate JP Sengh appeared for the Petitioner-Judge whereas Senior Counsel Avnish Ahlawat appeared for Delhi Government.

The Court observed that "The petitioner, who had to spend his hard-earned savings, while undergoing treatment to save his life, cannot be simply told that, since respondent no.5 (hospital) has failed to abide by the circular dated 20.06.2020 issued by the GNCTD, he should seek refund from the said hospital which saved his life."

The Court noted that it did not deem it appropriate or necessary to delve into the validity of the circular, in the present petition.

The Court relied upon the decision of the Court in Sqn. Commander Randeep Kumar Rana v. Union of India where the Division Bench while dealing with a case, where the hospital had charged over and above package rates, held that the employer was under an obligation to pay to the government employee, and could make appropriate recoveries in accordance with law, from the hospital which had overcharged him.

Thus the Court held that "In the light of the aforesaid, I have no hesitation in holding that the respondent nos.1 to 3 ought to forthwith reimburse the petitioner by paying him the differential amount of Rs.16,93,880/-, and if permissible, recover the same from the respondent no.5."

The Court clarified that it has not expressed any opinion on the validity of the aforesaid circular and therefore, it will be open for the authorities to pursue its remedy as per law, against the hospital.

Cause Title- Dinesh Kumar v. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2022/DHC/005039)

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