HC directs BSNL to clear medical bills of deceased employee within 2 months

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Oct 8: High Court has directed the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to process the medical bills of the deceased employee and release the same in favour of the petitioners within a period of two months.
The direction has been passed by Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal in a petition filed by Bimla Bhat and others seeking directions to the respondents to settle down medical claims in respect of treatment provided to the deceased husband of the petitioner. The case of the petitioners was that Maharaj Krishan Bhat was working as a Telephone Mechanic in the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at Kupwara, Kashmir when he got seriously ill and accordingly he was found suffering from blood cancer. It was averred in the petition that the petitioners have filed various representations before the respondent department from time to time for providing them the medical claims (medical reimbursement) of the deceased and also prayed for compassionate appointment of any of the family members of the deceased but no serious attention was paid towards their representation as such they were left with no other option but to file the present writ petition. However, the respondents claimed that no medical bills have been received from the petitioners as such no action could be taken. After hearing counsels for the petitioners and respondents, Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal observed, “a scheme has been formulated for medical policy for the BSNL employees known as “BSNL Employees Medical Reimbursement Policy” which has come into force on 24.02.2003 and Clause 1.5 of the Scheme specifically provides that all serving and retired employees of BNSL including deputationists would be eligible under this Scheme”, adding “from a bare perusal of the Scheme, it is emphatically clear that by virtue of Clause 2.2.0, an employee (including retired employee) and his/her dependants shall be entitled to reimbursement of expenses at the approved rates at all hospitals recognized from time to time by the management”.
“The respondents were under legal obligation qua the petitioners to consider their claim for reimbursement of expenses at the approved rates inconformity with the BSNL Medical Reimbursement Scheme”, Justice Nargal said, adding “while according consideration to the case of the petitioners, the respondents have to keep in mind that the technicality of the rules and regulations are not required to be followed just in a mechanical manner so as to frustrate the very purpose of the Scheme. Each case has to be examined on its own facts before taking any final decision”.
“It also goes without saying that the amount of medical reimbursement is constitutional obligation towards sufferer which is a beneficial legislation in a welfare State for its employees, therefore, the rules and instructions formulated should be construed liberally in favour of the employees for granting them the relief rather than to adopt the wooden attitude to deprive the person of his/her dues”, High Court said. Accordingly, the writ petition was allowed and the respondents weree directed to process the medical bills of the deceased and release the same in favour of the petitioners within a period of two months.