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HC refuses to entertain PIL which alleges 'discrimination' in health scheme of Delhi govt

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea which alleged that the AAP government's health scheme, being implemented by the Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK), was "discriminatory" as only residents of the national capital have access to it.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar termed the PIL "Publicity Interest Litigation" and questioned the manner in which the petition was drafted.

"Such petitions are filed just to make it a sensational matter. The Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister have been made parties in the petition but the direction which this petitioner is seeking is for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India who has not been named as a party.

"This is more of a Publicity Interest Litigation, rather than a Public Interest Litigation," the bench said while disposing of the petition filed by Abhijit Mishra.

The court said the petitioner had also sought direction to the CAG to audit accounts of the Health and Family Welfare Department and Directorate of Health Services for "misappropriation" of funds but the CAG is not a party in the plea.

"What sort of a petition is this?... We see no reason to give such a direction to the CAG. It happens in the government that such type of audit is not possible every year. It takes 4-5 years for CAG to complete one round of audit.... We see no reason to entertain the general allegations levelled in the petition," the bench said.

The petition had contended that the Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK) does not have the approval of the Lieutenant Governor to implement the health scheme.

The plea had claimed that the Delhi government "has not earmarked any funds in any of its budget nor has it designated and authorised DAK in the legislative assembly" to implement and fund the health scheme.

According to the PIL, the scheme provides financial assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh for treatment to those who have been residents of the national capital for the last three years and have an annual family income up to Rs 3 lakh.

The petitioner has contended that he has already sent representations to ministers and top officials of the Delhi government, "against the unconstitutional and highly discriminating health scheme", but had received no response from any of them.

"The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi's health scheme --DAK health scheme -- has an unconstitutional and highly discriminatory eligibility criteria -- the requirement of being the resident of Delhi -- in order to access the health services in the National Capital Territory of Delhi," the plea had claimed.

It also alleged that the books of accounts and functions of DAK have not been audited by the CAG which is in contravention of Rule 15 of the Rules and Regulations of the Delhi Arogya Kosh that states 'the accounts of the society would be audited by Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 17 2019. 19:45 IST