When a government servant falls ill and needs to be hospitalised while visiting another state on leave, will still be entitled to reimbursement of hospital fees from his employer. This cannot be denied to him on the basis on minor technicalities. This was held in the judgement passed by a two member bench of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir consisting of Justice Sanjay Dhar and Justice Pankaj Mithal in the case of Mohammad Gulzar Mir v Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir [LPA No. 307/2019] pronounced on 12th August 2021.
The petitioner, Mohammad Gulzar Mir was working as a block manager with the State Forest Corporation in Jammu and Kashmir. He took 10 days of leave from 21st February 2011 till 2nd March 2011 so that he can accompany his son to Delhi and help him secure admission in Jamia Hamdard University, Delhi. During the petitioner’s temporary stay in Delhi, he began to feel severe pain in his heart and was admitted in Apollo Hospital, Delhi. The total hospital bill came to Rs. 4,68,974.66/- and upon resuming his duties with the State Forest Corporation back home, the petitioner requested that he be reimbursed the aforementioned amount for his hospital bill.
When the State Forest Corporation in Jammu and Kashmir refused to consider the petitioner’s claim, he filed OWP No. 1747/2011 which led to the respondents being directed to consider the petitioner’s claim. However upon considering the petitioner’s claim, the respondents rejected it on grounds that the medical certificate had not been submitted in the prescribed proforma. The petitioner’s counsel pointed out as per Rule 6(5) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Medical Attendance and Allowance) Rules 1990 “where a beneficiary resides temporarily outside the State and falls ill there suddenly and is advised admission in a hospital, he will, on production of necessary vouchers and certificates, be allowed reimbursement of hospital charges including cost of drugs and charges for investigations, provided it is recommended by the Director Health Services of the State after being satisfied that the beneficiary had suddenly fallen ill outside the State where he resided temporarily and was not already suffering from it before his departure from his home town”.
The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir noted that “There is no dispute to the fact that appellant had no previous history of heart ailment and he suffered the stroke all of a sudden while living temporarily in Delhi and as such, has to be treated outside the State on emergency basis. In this view of the matter, it was incumbent upon the Director, Health Services Kashmir to have considered the matter of the petitioner for grant of necessary certificate. The petitioner/ appellant cannot be non-suited solely on the above technicality, if otherwise his claim is genuine.” Accordingly the single judge’s order was kept aside and the respondents were directed to reconsider the petitioner’s claim.