Read Order: Arti Devi v. UT Chandigarh & others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 24, 2022: While dealing with a Writ Petition filed by a five-month pregnant woman who was denied treatment in the Government multi-speciality Hospital-16, Chandigarh, on the ground that she was not a resident of Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the petitioner-woman could not be subjected to discrimination only on the ground of her place of residence and denying her such treatment in respondent-Hospital merely on the above said ground violated her right to life and liberty without there being any justifiable reason. 

The petitioner approached the Court under Articles 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India, for issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to provide medical treatment to the five-month-pregnant petitioner who was denied medical treatment by the respondent-Hospital on the ground that the petitioner was resident of Punjab while in GMSH-16 Chandigarh, treatment was restricted to patients from within Chandigarh.

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that the petitioner was five-month pregnant and in order to take health advice, she approached the respondent- Hospital. The petitioner was registered as a patient at the hospital for treatment as well. However, subsequently, on February 10, 2022, she was turned down from the hospital, refusing her treatment on the ground that she was not a resident of UT Chandigarh. The counsel also submitted that there was no such law under which the Government-Hospitals in UT could have denied the facility of treatment to the petitioner, in the normal course, only on the ground that she was not resident of the UT Chandigarh.

Even the counsel for the respondents-UT Chandigarh was not able to point out any law, which entitled the Hospital to drive out the patients by denying them medical treatment only because they were not residents of UT Chandigarh. 

Thus, in this light, the Bench of Justice Rajbir Sehrawat further opined that such denial of treatment of the five-month pregnant petitioner in the respondent- Hospital was a direct violation of her fundamental right. The Bench also added that this decision or even tendency of Government medical facilities could not be countenanced by any means.

Hence, the hospital was directed to provide the necessary treatment/ advice. 

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