Farishtey scheme : SC seeks Delhi LG’s response on AAP Govt’s allegations

New Delhi, Jan 5 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Friday asked Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena to make his stand clear on the AAP Government’s allegations, that the funds meant for the free medical treatment for road accident victims under Farishtey scheme have been stopped.

The Court said, that if it is found that the Delhi government took the Court for a ride, exemplary cost will be imposed on them.

A bench comprising Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta asked the LG to file an affidavit within two weeks after senior advocate Sanjay Jain representing Saxena submitted that the office of LG was not involved in the matter.

The Apex Court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government against the LG alleging that due to the stoppage of funds for the scheme for the past year, unpaid dues of ₹7.17 crore payable to private hospitals had mounted.

On December 8, the Top court issued notice and sought a response from LG on the plea of the Delhi Government that the Farishtey scheme launched in 2018 that had benefitted approximately 23,000 road accident victims required to be re-operationalised.

The Senior Advocate informed the Court that “It is not a matter where there was an issue between the Council of Ministers and LG.” The scheme is run by a society headed by the Delhi Health Minister.

“It is the Health Minister who conducted a meeting on January 2 for releasing the funds.”

The Court said, “File an affidavit to this effect. If we find the Minister has taken us for a ride, we will impose an exemplary cost.” The Court even remarked, “Ask your LG not to make every issue a prestige issue.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for the Delhi government with advocate Shadan Farasat.

On the previous date of hearing, the bench had observed, “We don’t understand why one wing of the government is fighting with another wing.” The petition filed by advocate Nupur Kumar stated that the Delhi government sought disciplinary action against two officers – Nutan Mundeja, the then Directorate General of Health Services and SB Deepak Kumar, health secretary for “deliberately orchestrating” the ‘Farishtey’ scheme to be de-operationalized.

“This mismanagement and insubordination was caused on purpose, as on date, there is a pending payment of ₹7.17 crores in respect of 42 private hospitals,” the petition added.

The scheme provided cashless treatment in private hospitals for road accident victims and money incurred on their treatment was to be reimbursed by the Delhi Arogya Kosh at Ayushman Bharat Health Benefit Package.

The Delhi government had stated in its plea that with the enactment of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023, ‘services’ fall under the jurisdiction of the LG and it is using this power and the said scheme was sought to be frustrated. “When the payment of bills of such private hospitals are halted, these hospitals stop taking patients under the scheme.”

It pointed out that despite repeated reminders sent to the officials to clear the payments, besides a letter written by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to LG on October 27, the bills remain unpaid to date.

The 2023 Act has already been challenged by the Delhi government before the top court and the same has been referred to a Constitution bench. Pending decision on the new law, there have been constant run-ins between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Centre.

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