Daljit Singh v. State of Punjab and others

1997 (116) PunLR 600
Download Judgment: English
Country: India
Region: Asia
Year: 1997
Court: High Court - Punjab and Haryana
Health Topics: Health care and health services, Health systems and financing
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Access to treatment, Reimbursement, Secondary care

Mr Daljit Singh, the Petitioner, was a retired lecturer from the Government Senior Secondary School. He underwent coronary bypass surgery at a private hospital. The Petitioner submitted his medical bills in 1991, but had not received any reimbursement six years after submitting the bills.

The Petitioner filed a petition in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (original writ jurisdiction of High Courts). The Petitioner claimed the costs of medical expenses and 18 per cent compound interest. The State of Punjab, the Respondent, contended that reimbursement should only be for expenses that the Petitioner would have incurred had the treatment taken place at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Regarding reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by the Petitioner, the Court held that the “right to health is integral to right to life.” It therefore held that a citizen was entitled to reimbursement of the actual medical expenses incurred.

On the issue of interest, the Court relied on Om Parkash Garg v. State of Punjab, (JT 1996(10) SC 36) and held that a citizen is not entitled to claim interest for delay in reimbursement of medical expenses.

“[T]he right to health being integral to the right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, it cannot be said that the citizen is not entitled to claim reimbursement of medical expenses. It is not a mere right conferred by executive instructions. It is in fact a part of the rights under Article 21.” Para. 7.