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Corona and rights to live: Timely treatment to the needy

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Center government is doing good in this epidemic but what about state governments?

It is needless to note that our Constitution does not allow any government to be negligent with the health of Indian citizens. Article 21 of the Constitution directly places the responsibility of the lives of Indian citizens on the government. In this, it is considered the job of the government to meet the health needs of every person.

In fact, this article was added accepting the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which was issued on December 10, 1948. If the common man does not get treatment on time, then it was considered to be an encroachment on his right to live.

The manner in which millions of civilians escaped and were forced to lose their lives in cruel and inhuman conditions during the Corona epidemic is horrifying.

Nearly thirty three years ago, in the case of Shankar Banerjee vs Durgapur plant, the judiciary had clearly stated that in fact if someone’s condition is serious and he does not get treatment in time, then it is more cruel than hanging.

Not only this, Article 47 has been cited in the Directive Principles of State Policy that the state will consider the primary duty of people to improve health. But we see that the state is turning its back on improving health services in rural and interior areas. The responsibility is being fulfilled by opening AIIMS or medical colleges in selected cities at the central and state level.

The way the private sector has stepped into medicine, this sector of service has become a big market. The judiciary has given constitutional understanding to the states and the Center, from time to time. But it did not yield much results.

If we look at the arrangements of the Supreme Court, it is found that in some cases of 1984, 1987 and 1992, it was said that health and medicine are fundamental rights. Similarly, in the two cases of Punjab and Bengal in 1996 and 1997, the Supreme Court had said that it is the constitutional responsibility of the government to provide health facilities.

Even in the Corona era, the high courts of many states have been strongly supportive of the fact that elected governments cannot escape this fundamental right of their citizens. Last year, the Telangana High Court had clarified that fundamental rights of the people cannot be allowed to be crushed in the name of medical emergency.

Private hospitals were also included in the scope of treatment by the court. In this sequence, the Patna High Court reprimanded the state government for not preparing any action plan to deal with Covid.

He had said that if it was found that there were deaths due to lack of oxygen, the court would use its power to the fullest. The High Court expressed its anger at the news of the death of a high court official due to lack of oxygen.

In this episode, the High Courts of some other states have also taken a dig at the State Governments.

About twelve years ago, the third chapter of the National Health Bill guaranteed justice to patients. In 2018, a charter was accepted by the Union Health Ministry in 2018.

It included 17 rights for patients and it was said that hospitals are obliged to give all the records of their health and medicine to the patient. If there is an emergency, the victim also has the right to get treatment without money. Not only this, according to this charter, sick is also exempted to consult one doctor after another.

It was also said that the hospital cannot stop any sick due to delay in payment or billing process and cannot refuse to give the dead body. But allow me to say politely that in the Corona period the flag of this charter was repeatedly torn.

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