The Delhi
government has asked five private hospitals in the city – Fortis Escorts Heart
Institute, Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Shanti Mukand Hospital,
Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute – to
deposit ‘unwarranted profits’ of over Rs 600 crore for refusing free treatment
to the poor, the prime condition for land allotment lease.

Dr Hem
Prakash, additional director (EWS) in the Health Department, said these five
hospitals were provided lands at concessional rates between 1960 and 1990 on
the condition that they would treat the poor free of cost. He also said, ‘These
five hospitals have not abided by the conditions. We had earlier in December
2015 sent notices to these hospitals seeking their explanation as to why they
failed to treat the poor and why they should not be fined. But none of them
gave satisfactory replies, so we initiated action against them.’

‘The penalty
has been imposed on the basis of a High Court order passed in 2007 on a PIL
demanding implementation of the provision of free treatment to poor and action
against the erring hospitals. And the fine amount has been calculated
accordingly,’ Dr Prakash explained.

The
hospitals have been asked to pay the amount by9 July, failing which further action will be
initiated against them.

Fortis
Healthcare’s subsidiary Escort Heart Institute and Research Centre has received
an order to deposit Rs 503.36 crore for non-compliance with conditions of land
allotment lease. ‘The management will challenge the same in the High Court of
Delhi or such relevant authority to seek suitable legal remedies available to
it under law,’ the hospital said in a statement.

Devki Devi
Foundation, of which Max-Super Speciality Hospital in Saket is a unit, said, ‘We
believe the order is unfair to us, we stand fully committed to discharging all
our obligations towards economically weaker sections. We are extremely serious
towards fulfilling our obligations. While we study the order in detail, we will
prefer an appeal against this order in the appropriate forum.’

The director of
Dharamshila Cancer Hospital Suversha Khanna said they would challenge the order
in the court.

It may be
noted that a total of 43 private hospitals in Delhi were allotted land at
concessional rates on the condition that they would keep 10 per cent of their
in-patient department capacity and 25 per cent of out-patient department
capacity to treat patients from economically weaker sections (EWS) free of
cost.