Recently, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.(ONGC) ,have issued one more "New Scheme" for medical facilities in respect of its retired employees. Under the said New Scheme,retired employees have been deprived of the medical facilities (for self , spouse and handicapped child, if any), from any of the ONGC Hospitals at various Work Centres, other than where he/she is settled and registered subsequent to the retirement .All clauses included in the new scheme, are contrary to the legal /statutory provisions, guidelines of the Govt, verdicts of various Courts, norms, precedents, practices, rules/regulations etc on the subject. Medical Attendaance Rules, 1944 also apply on ONGC., but while formulating the New Scheme, no consideration has been given to the said Rules, which contain well-defined updated inbuilt provisions.. Hence, blunders. According to the Central Govt Health Scheme (CGHS), the main purpose of having its own Hospitals/Dispensaries by the organisations is to extend comprehensive medical care to the employees and reduce expenditure on reimbursement. Contrary to the said fact, it is not understood on which logic, ONGC has decided to force its employees to take treatment from the private hospitals/doctors etc at heavy cost,that too ,in places where well -equipped hospitals of the ONGC with a battery of Doctors and other facilities are available. Hitherto, it was continuously being stressed that whenever any serving or retired employee of ONGC or his/her entitled family member(s) temporarily happens to be at any place where ONGC Hospital is in operation, it was essentially obligatory on him/her to ensure that he/she would take treatment from ONGC Hospital only and no one should directly go even to any empanelled/recognised hospital or doctor without prior reference issued by ONGC doctors.In case of hospitalisation,visiting persons were also required to take medicines only from the ONGC Hospital or from the recogised chemists on the basis of indents issued by ONGC. In case of a direct admission in any recognised Hospital ,in emergency, it was also a must on the part of the employee to inform the ONGC Hospital and collect necessary reference at the earliest . Under the new Scheme there would be no contact or relation between the visiting employee or the ONGC doctors whereas it was essentially required to get the medical reimbursement bills, if any ,to be countersinged/ verified from the ONGC Hospital of that place for restricting the admissible rates applicalble to that place..The earlier universally adopted procedure was not only convenient to employees but was also economical for ONGC.The new scheme would expose the retired employees and their entitled family members to severe hard- ships .Humane effors always apply for improvement. The need was to give some more facilities to the ex-emloyees instead of creating problems for them by formulating "oppressive " policy with a view to curtail the existing facilities.. It is well-settled that right to health is integral to right to life guaranted under Art 21 of the Constitution. Hon'ble Supreme Court has already ruled out that the government is under constitutional obligation to provide free heath care to its employees including the retired employees. In the matter , the land mark verdict of the Hon'bleSupremem Court in the case of K.P.Singh, former Union Govt Additionl Health Secretary vs. Panjab Govt is relevant to be referred to (a clipping from TOI dated 22.12.1995 in this regard has already been sent to ONGC separately.) .
Further, In one of its land mark decisions in the case of Jagdish Kumar Bajpai, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(NCDRC) said that medical facilities to retired employees under CGHS could not be termed as "free service" as it was in consideration of service rendered by him to the government till the age of his superannuaton, which conferred a right on him to get pension as well as other benefits incluing medical treatment prescribed by various rules of the schemes framed by the Centre.As per verdict ,the NCDRC in the case, Retired employees can sue govt for the neglience. Relevant clipping from TOI dt. 7/11/O5 has also been sent to ONGC separately.
Also, in one important case of Anklesvar Project of ONGC, Hon'ble High Court at Ahmedabad has upheld the decision of the lower court for restoring the medical facilities of 53 employees and held that the medical facility scheme is a welfare scheme and cannot be equated with the other rules of ONGC and TTA (this case relates to 53 employees of Bharuch and Anklesvar , whose medical facilities were restored as the same were discontinued by the Ankleshvar Projet for continuously taking treatment from Bharuch /Ankleshvar whereas they opted for settlement at other places and took TTA on retirement for the same. Relevant documents regarding this case have also been sent to ONGC separately.MAR as well as list of inadmissible medicines is freely avilable in the market at a very low cost. Every body should purchase the same.