Justice Anand Venkatesh – Welfare State is gauged by how it treats its Senior Citizens: Madras HC deprecates delay in paying insurance to aged claimant

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Justice Anand Venkatesh
Welfare State is gauged by how it treats its Senior Citizens: Madras HC deprecates delay in paying insurance to aged claimant

Feb 22, 2020, 7:28 AM IST

The Madras High Court recently took critical note over the manner in which a senior citizen was constrained to repeatedly approach the Court for the payment of his medical insurance claim.

In this case, the petitioner was made to run from pillar to post for getting his claim of medical reimbursement under an insurance scheme. His original claim was rejected. However, even after the Madras High Court granted relief in over the same, the claim was not settled in full. Expressing disapproval over the situation Justice N Anand Venkatesh said,

“This is yet another unfortunate case, where a pensioner has been made to knock the doors of this Court for the 2nd time. This Court has been repeatedly passing orders on a daily basis in cases of this nature and it is painful to note that the old aged pensioners are not being treated properly and they are not even being settled with their legitimate claim for medical reimbursement.”
Madras High Court
The Court also commented that in such cases it should only be considered if a genuine claim is made out or not, particularly when senior citizens are involved. The order states,

In every case, it looks as if the authorities are trying to find some reason to either reject the claim or to arbitrarily fix some amount as against the actual claim made. A welfare State is gauged in the manner in which it treats its Senior Citizens. If Senior Citizens are going to be treated in this manner, it will portray the State in a very poor light.
Madras High Court
The authorities should act upon such claims for medical reimbursement in a more humane manner, opined the Court.
Finding no merit in the grounds cited for the refusal to pay the insurance, the Court ultimately directed the Finance (Pension) Department to reimburse the medical expenses incurred by the aged petitioner.
In doing so, the Court also highlighted that the High Court has repeatedly settled that a claim cannot be rejected on the ground that the treatment/operation was undergone in a non-network hospital.
“When a person is facing emergency, it will be too much to expect the person who is undergoing agony and his family to choose a hospital which is listed under the Government order. At that crunch moment, everyone will be more focused on saving the life of the concerned person than searching for listed hospitals”, the Court observed.
Considering that this was the second time when the petitioner had approached the High Court, the Court disposed of the plea with positive directions to settle the balance amount claimed by the petitioner within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the order.

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