Theweekendleader

Don't use PIL for publicity: SC on free Covid treatment plea

New Delhi

21-April-2020

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking free treatment for all coronavirus infected patients and termed it as an attempt to gain publicity.

A bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B.R. Gavai, while hearing the plea through video conferencing, said the government will decide who will get free treatment for the coronavirus infection.

Taking a strong observation on the nature of prayer in the petition and terming it a publicity stunt, the bench said, "Do not create publicity interest litigatio, we think this case should close now, no need to raise any litigation like this."

The top court reiterated that the government will decide who can avail free treatment, and the court does not have any funds. The court observed that treatment in government hospitals is already free.

Earlier last week, the apex court dismissed a plea seeking nationalization of the healthcare sector and its associated services till the coronavirus pandemic is not contained in the country. The current plea was also part of this petition.

Last week, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Ravindra Bhat had said that this is not a decision the court can ask the government to take, and dismissed the prayer in the petition seeking nationalization of hospitals. The top court had cited that the government has already taken over some hospitals.

The bench had observed that such petitions are misconceived. The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted before the court that such petitions should be dismissed. IANS