The Bombay High Court has directed all charitable hospitals in Maharashtra run by Trusts, to display the words “charitable” in English and “dharmaday” in Marathi in their name plates within a month.
The court, after perusing the data of such hospitals, observed that less than one per cent of charitable hospitals have the word in their name plates, with others violating the circulars issued by the charity commissioner.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Sunil Anandrao Kausadikar, a division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice YG Khobragade recently said it would help indigent and poor people who get 10 per cent reservation in OPD and IPD to approach such hospitals for treatment. The PIL referred to circulars issued by the state charity commissioner from 2018 to 2020.
As per the circulars, all charitable hospitals, which have 10 per cent reservation in the outdoor patients department (OPD) for indigent patients as well as Economically Weaker Section (EWS) patients, are mandated to use “charitable” and “dharmaday” in English and Marathi name plates, respectively. It is also applicable to the Indoor patients Department (IPD) of such hospitals.
Advocate VV Gujar for the petitioner submitted that the circulars should be strictly followed across the state, as the indigent and poor people, at times, who may be illiterate or semi literate, would be able to read the word “dharmaday” in Marathi and can approach the said hospitals for treatment.
The bench perused a report of July 10 submitted by the charity commissioner pertaining to the number of OPD beds reserved for indigent or EWS patients and number of patients actually admitted. “Having perused the voluminous record, we find that less than one per cent of the charitable hospitals use the word ‘charitable’ or ‘dharmaday’ in the names of the hospitals,” the bench observed.
The bench directed all charitable hospitals not following the mandate to amend their names mentioning the word in English and Marathi, and asked the charity commissioner to personally conduct a survey to find whether the HC order has been implemented by the hospitals concerned.
The court said that Marathi boards shall also be displayed on the premises of the charitable hospitals, also indicating various schemes available for patients from the EWS category. The number of beds available and the daily occupancy should also be mentioned, the bench said.
The court also directed to record the details of such hospitals along with the names of patients admitted and their Aadhaar cards so as to enable the charity commissioner, if necessary, to verify as to whether they are actually indigent or EWS patients.
The charity commissioner was asked to collect the data from joint charity commissioners of every district on a monthly basis. Seeking compliance of its order, the bench posted further hearing to September 14.