KATHMANDU, Dec 14: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to the government authorities demanding clarification on why it is planning to collect additional five percent medical tax on top of 13 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for patients receiving medical service from private hospitals.
A five-member Constitutional Bench comprising Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and justices Deepak Raj Joshee, Om Prakash Mishra, Cholendra SJB Rana and Deepak Kumar Karki issued the notice.
The bench, following a hearing conducted on Wednesday, asked the authorities at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Health and Population to submit clarifications on collecting the medical tax as well as VAT.
The apex court has asked the authorities to reply to the apex court within fifteen days on why it is planning to introduce such provision on collecting additional taxes in the Financial Bill-2017. The bill proposes authorizing private hospitals to impose such additional charges from patients for receiving medical treatment.
The bench was responding to a writ petition filed by a group of advocates including Bishnu Prasad Timalsina, Prakash KC and Chandra Prakash Siwakoti a few months ago challenging the provision on collecting taxes by grossly violating the constitutional provision that ensures fundamental rights on medical health to the citizens.
According to Article 35 of the constitution, every citizen shall have the right to free basic health services from the state and no one shall be deprived of emergency health services.
The petitioners argued that collecting such additional taxes by the hospitals would pose threat to the right to receive medical treatment, which is against the constitution.