The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Centre why private hospitals which had been given land free of cost or at discounted rates can’t treat Covid-19 patients free of cost. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy ordered the Centre to identify hospitals where Covid-19 patients can be treated free of cost or at minimal costs. The court was hearing a petition filed by a lawyer, demanding “cost-related regulations” for treatment of Covid-19 patients in private hospitals. The petitioner alleged inflated billing by private hospitals, adding that private hospitals that are running on public land or are running under the category of “charitable institutions” should be called for pro-bono treatment for patients. The Centre in its reply to the court said, it has no statutory power to direct private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients for free, as there is no such provision under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010. The govt added that such policies can be defined and implemented by state govts.