News Update

Two separate low housing projects constructed on common land should not be construed as one, so as to disallow statutory relief available u/s 80IB(10): HCGovt approves CPC 2.0; Rs 1.6 lakh crore refund processedWhether if assessee purchaser demonstrates discharge of tax liability to seller, benefit of input tax cannot be deprived to such buyer - YES: HCMumbai DGFT launches Call Centre for FTP queriesIn absence of failure on part of assessee to disclose fully & truly all material facts, assumption of jurisdiction u/s 147 is not permitted: HCST - Notfn. 12/2003 - Abatement available even if same was not separately shown in invoices if verifiable documentary proof was otherwise produced as there was no such condition to show value of same separately in invoices: CESTATTransfer of case to more pronounced location rather than one ordered u/s 127 at request of assessee, is permitted only if relative hardship to taxpayer stands proved: HCCX - Grounds of appeal are beyond the scope of SCN, hence Revenue appeal is dismissed: CESTATInterference by Division Bench in intra-court appeal, would be justified only if order under appeal suffers from patent illegality: HCCus - Diamonds were not presented to proper officer but were found in office of courier company - since the assessee has not done any act towards exportation, sec 113(d) has no application: CESTATOnce surplus generated by educational society stands ploughed back for imparting education, registration u/s 12AA should not be denied to it: ITATCX - When assessee has reversed credit and intimated department, allegation that assessee has suppressed facts with intention to evade payment of duty is unjustified: CESTATCBDT clarifies income tax exemption to disability pension is available to all armed forces personnel irrespective of rankGST - By not reducing pre-GST base price by 9.68% on account of additional benefit of ITC and charging GST at increased rate of 12%, respondent has contravened provisions of s.171 of the CGST Act, 2017 - Profiteering proved : NAAGST - DGAP is under statutory obligation in terms of rule 129 of CGST Rulesto complete investigation in case of receipt of any reference from Standing Committee; subsequent withdrawal is not a legally valid ground to discontinue proceedings: NAAGST - Anti-Profiteering - There is no statutory provision for withdrawal of complaint made: NAAGST Evasion - Govt going to integrate FASTag with e-Way Bill & logistic data servicesCBDT Chairman draws attention of senior officers towards 2600 grievances pending on CPGRAMS & 3400 on e-Nivaran as on June 20, 2019Total number of GSTR-1 as on June 17, 2019 reaches close to 20 Crore + 17.6 Crore GSTR-3BHouse Report - Illicit outflows accounted for 10% of unaccounted incomeKarnataka ULBs tell FinCom NO performance grants being releasedRule 56(j) - Govt further tightens screwsST - WCS were used for maintenance & repair of UPS systems and ACs - are to be treated as Input Services: CESTATTribunal being last fact finding authority should not rest its judgment only on alternative contention raised by parties to litigation: HCCX - Merely because there are certain cash deposits in the account of director of company, it cannot be concluded that these are amounts received from sale of clandestinely removed finished products: CESTATDevelopment of Bundelkhand - Govt setting up Defence Industrial CorridorOnce advances are not made out of interest bearing funds, no disallowance of interest expenditure is permitted: HC
 
Mega relief for pensioners - SC rules CGHS beneficiaries not to be denied reimbursement for hospitalization expenses in emergency

BY TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, APR 13, 2018: THE issue before the Apex Court in this case is whether CGHS beneficiaries can be denied reimbursement where they receive treatment in private hospitals in emergency circumstances. NO is the verdict.

Facts of the case

The petitioner is a beneficiary of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). He is entitled to receive treatment in private ward for life. He filed two bills claiming reimbursement of expenses incurred during treatment received in two private hospitals. Suffering from cardiac ailments, he had a CRT-D device implanted. Later, the Technical Standing Committee rejected the first bill without giving reasons for rejecting it. Later it claimed that the petitioner did not require the CRT-D device. Later, the Committee observed that its approval was not sought for receiving implant of such device. Thereupon, the petitioner approached the Director General of the CGHS, after which a sum of about Rs 5 lakhs was credited to his account. However no speaking order was communicated to the petitioner in this regard. Regarding the second set of bills, the petitioner's claim was restricted to one-fourth of the original amount claimed. Such order too was passed without granting opportunity of personal hearing. Hence in totality for both bills, the petitioner received less than half of the total expenses incurred out of his own resources. Although in an interim order, this Court had directed disbursement of Rs 3 lakhs to the petitioner, the present writ was filed, highlighting the petitioner's advanced age and need for funds to continue treatment.

On hearing the matter, the Apex Court was of the view that,

++ It is a settled legal position that the Government employee during his life time or after his retirement is entitled to get the benefit of the medical facilities and no fetters can be placed on his rights. It is acceptable to common sense, that ultimate decision as to how a patient should be treated vests only with the Doctor, who is well versed and expert both on academic qualification and experience gained. Very little scope is left to the patient or his relative to decide as to the manner in which the ailment should be treated. Speciality Hospitals are established for treatment of specified ailments and services of Doctors specialized in a discipline are availed by patients only to ensure proper, required and safe treatment. Can it be said that taking treatment in Speciality Hospital by itself would deprive a person to claim reimbursement solely on the ground that the said Hospital is not included in the Government Order. The right to medical claim cannot be denied merely because the name of the hospital is not included in the Government Order. The real test must be the factum of treatment. Before any medical claim is honoured, the authorities are bound to ensure as to whether the claimant had actually taken treatment and the factum of treatment is supported by records duly certified by Doctors/Hospitals concerned. Once, it is established, the claim cannot be denied on technical grounds. Clearly, in the present case, by taking a very inhuman approach, the officials of the CGHS have denied the grant of medical reimbursement in full to the petitioner forcing him to approach this Court.

++ This is hardly a satisfactory state of affairs. The relevant authorities are required to be more responsive and cannot in a mechanical manner deprive an employee of his legitimate reimbursement. The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) was propounded with a purpose of providing health facility scheme to the central government employees so that they are not left without medical care after retirement. It was in furtherance of the object of a welfare State, which must provide for such medical care that the scheme was brought in force. In the facts of the present case, it cannot be denied that the writ petitioner was admitted in the above said hospitals in emergency conditions. Moreover, the law does not require that prior permission has to be taken in such situation where the survival of the person is the prime consideration. The doctors did his operation and had implanted CRT-D device and have done so as one essential and timely. Though it is the claim of the respondent-State that the rates were exorbitant whereas the rates charged for such facility shall be only at the CGHS rates and that too after following a proper procedure given in the Circulars issued on time to time by the concerned Ministry, it also cannot be denied that the petitioner was taken to hospital under emergency conditions for survival of his life which requirement was above the sanctions and treatment in empanelled hospitals.

++ In the present view of the matter, we are of the considered opinion that the CGHS is responsible for taking care of healthcare needs and well being of the central government employees and pensioners. In the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of opinion that the treatment of the petitioner in non-empanelled hospital was genuine because there was no option left with him at the relevant time. We, therefore, direct the respondent-State to pay the balance amount of Rs. 4,99,555/- to the writ petitioner. We also make it clear that the said decision is confined to this case only.

++ Further, with regard to the slow and tardy pace of disposal of MRC by the CGHS in case of pensioner beneficiaries and the unnecessary harassment meted out to pensioners who are senior citizens, affecting them mentally, physically and financially, we are of the opinion that all such claims shall be attended by a Secretary level High Powered Committee in the concerned Ministry which shall meet every month for quick disposal of such cases. We, hereby, direct the concerned Ministry to device a Committee for grievance redressal of the retired pensioners consisting of Special Directorate General, Directorate General, 2 (two) Additional Directors and 1 (one) Specialist in the field which shall ensure timely and hassle free disposal of the claims within a period of 7 (seven) days. We further direct the concerned Ministry to take steps to form the Committee as expeditiously as possible. Further, the above exercise would be futile if the delay occasioned at the very initial stage, i.e., after submitting the relevant claim papers to the CMO-I/C, therefore, we are of the opinion that there shall be a timeframe for finalization and disbursement of the claim amounts of pensioners. In this view, we are of the opinion that after submitting the relevant papers for claim by a pensioner, the same shall be reimbursed within a period of 1 (one) month.

(See 2018-TIOL-136-SC-MISC)