The Delhi high court (HC) ruled that medical claim of a government employee for reimbursement of treatment undertaken in emergency should not be denied merely because the hospital was not empanelled with the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
A division bench of Justices V Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta observed that the test would be to see whether the claimant had actually undertaken the treatment in an emergency as advised and if this contention is supported by records.
“Preservation of human life is of paramount importance. The state is under an obligation to ensure timely medical treatment to a person in need of such treatment and a negation of the same would be a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution,” the bench said in a judgment dated May 10.
It made the observations while dismissing a plea moved by the central government challenging an order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal directing it to reimburse a retired pensioner employed as a senior carpenter with the government, for the balance amount incurred by him due to emergency medical treatment for “trigeminal neuralgia” at the VIMHANS hospital in Delhi, which was not empanelled with CGHS.
The bench said denial of such medical claim by authorities only adds to the misery of the government servant by forcing such individual to resort to courts.
The respondent, the Centre, submitted that the treatment was undertaken by the pensioner at a non-empanelled hospital on his own volition and, thus, he was not entitled to reimbursement as per policy.