Policy thrust upon employees ‘unnecessarily’
SRINAGAR: In a fresh petition moved before the J&K High Court challenging the Chief Minister’s Group Mediclaim Insurance policy, which has recently been made mandatory for all government employees, the court on Wednesday issued notice to the state government to file response to the issue within one week.
The petitioner, Gulbadin Ahmed Mir, has moved the petition through his counsel, Lone Altaf, stating that the said policy scheme has been thrust upon the employees unnecessarily.
It was stated that the main purpose and object of the scheme was to provide and cater to the health needs of the employees of the J&K government, “but unfortunately just two hospitals from Srinagar and 18 hospitals from Jammu have been empanelled”.
The two in Srinagar are not hospitals in the strict sense, being rather just clinics, as are most of those named in Jammu. The rest of the hospitals selected are outside the state with most of them located in southern and eastern India – like in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal etc. – which are practically inaccessible to the stakeholders. As such, the basic purpose of the scheme has been frustrated, the petition said.
The scheme has been introduced only to shower benefits upon a non-governmental insurance policy, it alleged.
The petition stated that the policy along with the government order are bad in the eyes of the law as prior to the introduction of the scheme, there was already a medical insurance scheme in vogue in terms of the J&K Civil Services (Medical Attendance and Allowance) Rules, 1990, by virtue of which, medical expenses are reimbursed to a government employees after proper treatment.
Furthermore, it was stated that not only were the above-mentioned insurance benefits extended to government employees, another insurance cover known as Group Personal Accidental Insurance Policy has also been introduced and mandated over the employees, including the petitioner. In consequence of this, premium was also being deducted from salaries, “therefore there was no occasion to introduce the fresh policy”.
It was pleaded through the petition that the Mediclaim Insurance policy has been passed in haste without application of mind and as such deserves to be overturned. It was also submitted that making the scheme mandatory and the deduction of premium without consent is virtually a punishment that cannot be done without affording the petitioner an opportunity to be heard.
“As such, the same is also violative of the Principles of Natural Justice, and it therefore cannot withstand the test of legality.”
The petition also claimed that Reliance General Insurance has been awarded the contract without proper tendering.