Kartar Singh Virk v. State of Punjab and Ors

(1997) 116 PLR 573
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

The Petitioner, Kartar Singh Virk, a retired government employee, underwent a by-pass surgery. His request to the Deputy Commissioner for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred was repeatedly rejected.

The Petitioner filed the petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (original jurisdiction of High Courts). The Court was requested to issue directions to the Respondent to “reimburse the amount with interest.”

The Court held that the right to life encompassed the right to health. Consequently, the Government was under an obligation to provide adequate medical facilities and reimburse medical expenses incurred by both a serving and a retired Government employee. Relying on Ram Lubhaya Bagga v. Punjab State, (Civil Writ Petition No. 13872 of 1996 (March 21, 1997)), the Court rejected the Respondent’s claim that the reimbursement of expenses should be at the rates which were prevalent in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The Court further held that if the Petitioner’s expenses were not reimbursed within a month from the judgment, interest of 12 per cent would be applicable from one month after the judgment till the date of payment.

“[T]he right to health is an integral part of the right to life. The Government is under an obligation to provide adequate facilities and to reimburse the expenses incurred by a serving or retired civil servant for treatment.” Para. 4.