Supreme Court Questions Government on Uniform Hospital Rates

The Supreme Court recently questioned the Central government about its ability to establish uniform rates in private hospitals for patient care, particularly regarding ophthalmological procedures across India.


Following a public interest lawsuit filed by an NGO, namely the Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, which sought clarity on whether the fees being charged by hospitals and other medical institutions were in accordance with the Clinical Establishment Rules.

This is a mandatory notification that urges the establishment of standard prices established in consultation with states for the treatment and procedures of diseases in metropolitan areas, cities, and towns. And in order to determine the hospital rates, the Clinical Establishment Act of 2010 requires the Center to work with the states and union territories.


Today, while presiding over this matter, the Supreme Court asked the center if they could determine the uniform rates, which ideally should be managed by market forces.

Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta posed the question while issuing notice to the government regarding a petition that challenges the government’s regulations on uniform rates for ophthalmological procedures across India.

“How can there be uniform rates even in private hospitals? It all depends on market forces. What if there were uniform fees for lawyers appearing here?” asked the Court.

As per the All India Ophthalmological Society’s petition, the rates for treatments performed by professionals may differ between major areas and small, remote villages.

The next hearing for this case is scheduled for September 10, 2024.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon