Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoorsamity ... vs State Of West Bengal & Anr on 6 May, 1996

Centre, the medical officer in charge of the Centre referred him to the Diamond Harbour
Sub-Divisional Hospital or any other State hospital for better treatment. Hakim Seikh was taken to
N.R.S. Medical College Hospital near Sealdah Railway Station, Calcutta at about 11.45 P.M. on July
8, 1992. The Emergency Medical Officer in the said Hospital, after examining him and after taking
two X-ray prints of his skull recommended immediate admission for further treatment. But Hakim
Seikh could not be admitted in the said hospital as no vacant bed was available in the Surgical
Emergency ward and the regular Surgery Ward was also full. He was thereafter taken to Calcutta
Medical College Hospital at about 12.20 A.M. on July 9, 1992 but there also he was not admitted on
the ground that no vacant bed was available. He was then taken to Shambhu Nath Pandit Hospital
at about 1.00 A.M. on July 9, 1992. He was not admitted in that hospital and referred to a teaching
hospital in the ENT, Neuro Surgeon Department on the ground that the hospital has no ENT
Emergency or Neuro Emergency Department. At about 2.00 A.M. on July 9, 1992 he was taken to
the Calcutta National Medical College Hospital but there also he was not admitted on account of
non-availability of bed. At about 8.00 A.M. on July 9, 1992 he was taken to the Bangur Institute of
Neurology but on seeing the CT Scan (which was got done at a private hospital on payment of Rs.
1310/-) it was found that there was haemorrhage condition in the frontal region of the head and that
it was an emergency case which could not be handled in the said Institute. At about 10.00 A.m. on
July 9, 1992 he was taken to SSKM Hospital but there also he was not admitted on the ground that
the hospital has no facility of neuro surgery. Ultimately he was admitted in Calcutta Medical
Research Institute, a private hospital, where he received treatment as an indoor patient from July 9,
1992 to July 22, 1992 and he had incurred an expenditure of approximately Rs. 17,000/- in his
treatment.
Feeling aggrieved by the indifferent and callous attitude on the part of the medical authorities at the
various State run hospitals in Calcutta in providing treatment for the serious injuries sustained by
Hakim Seikh the petitioners have filed this writ petition.
In the writ petition the petitioners have also assailed the decision of the National Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission dated December 15, 1989 in Consumer Unity & Trust Society.
Jaipur vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors and it has been submitted that the expression 'consumer' as
defined in section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 includes persons getting or
eligible for medical treatment in Government hospitals and that the expression 'services' as defined
in section 2(1)(o) of the Act includes services provided in the Government hospitals also. The said
question has been considered in the recent decision of this Court in Indian Medical Association vs.
V.P.Shantha, 1995 (6) SCC
651. In view of the said decision the only question which needs to be considered is whether the
non-availability of facilities for treatment of the serious injuries sustained by Hakim Seikh in the
various Government hospitals in Calcutta has resulted in denial of his fundamental right guaranteed
under Article 21 of the Constitution.
There is not much dispute on facts. In the affidavit of Ms. Lina Chakraborti, filed on behalf of the
State of West Bengal, respondent No. 1, it is stated that the rural areas of the State are served by the
Block Health Centres and by the Subsidiary Health Centres since redesignated as "Primary Health
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