Supreme Court directs Centre to convene meeting to devise a master plan for the poor


The Supreme Court Monday directed the Centre to convene a meeting of Health Ministers or secretaries within a week to devise a master plan which focuses on the marginalised sections of society.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that in the first meeting all the States and Union Territories may be advised to come up with a master plan by taking a cue from the already existing Public Health Acts of various States and the National Health Bill, 2009, which focuses on the marginalized sections of society.

“Thereafter, a second meeting of the Health Ministers/Secretaries of all States and Union Territories may be convened for the purpose of collating the information received from the States and Union Territories regarding the steps taken by the States

“After receipt of the information from all the states and Union Territories, the Government of India may file a comprehensive report with a compilation of the information received from the States and Union Territories,” the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said.

The top court said the states which already have Public Health Acts, may be advised to fine tune their existing enactments, on the model of the National Health Bill, 2009.

“In the meantime, all the State governments and UTs are suo moto impleaded as parties to this writ petition. Issue notice to the State Governments and UTs,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing after four weeks.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Sachin Jain who has sought direction for regulating the cost of treatment of COVID-19 at private hospitals across the country and suggested that there should be a cheaper treatment for coronavirus infected patients in smaller towns.

The top court had earlier said that no one should be turned away from hospital due to higher cost of treatment.

It had asked the government to consider framing guideline on the issue of cost of treatment for COVID-19 infection.

In June, the apex court had asked private hospitals whether they were ready to provide treatment to COVID-19 infected patients at the charges prescribed under the government’s Ayushman Bharat Scheme.

The ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ is aimed at providing health cover to poor and vulnerable persons in the country.