The Delhi government will challenge the high court's Friday order quashing its circular mandating preferential treatment to city residents over non-residents at the GTB Hospital here, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.
"We will appeal in the apex court and put up our case there," Jain said.
Under the pilot project implemented at the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital early this month, Delhi residents get preference at registration counters, in-patient department, tests and medicine counter service. The identification is done on the basis of voter identity card.
"Three years ago, we had made disbursing of essential medicines free, following which the crowd at the hospital increased. Earlier, it used to be 5,000-5,500 people per day but it went up to 9,000-10,000," Jain told reporters.
The Delhi health minister said, the move to give preference to Delhiites was mooted because many residents had "complained" that though the facility had been announced they couldn't avail it of due to huge crowd.
One bed was being shared by two persons, which "we thought was unfair," he said.
"Also, consultancy and OPD facilities are free for all, and only medicine facilities would be for the people of Delhi. Besides, emergency facilities are free and only for planned treatment we have reserved 80 per cent for Delhiites and rest for others," Jain said.
The high court Friday quashed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's circular giving preferential treatment to Delhi residents over non-residents at the hospital, saying it led to creation of a "class within a class" of identically placed citizens which was "impermissible".
Earlier in the day, a government spokesperson had said that it is the duty of any government to provide better facilities to the taxpayers.
"The Delhi government disagrees with the honourable Delhi High Court on the issue of providing facilities to Delhi residents at the GTB Hospital and it will challenge the court's order in the honourable Supreme Court," he said.
The court was examining whether the project was violating the rights to equality and life, guaranteed under the Constitution.
The bench had earlier said it had noted the government's "difficulties" related to infrastructure, staff and facilities and added that it would consider if these were valid grounds to deny others their rights under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The NGO, in its plea, had said the hospital could not discriminate against patients based on their regional identity, while adding that such discrimination was not seen anywhere else in the country.
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