Affordable Treatment comes under the Fundamental Right to Health: SC on Covid-19

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Right to Health is a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and it includes the Right to Affordable treatment, the Supreme Court observed on Friday.

A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, R Subhas Reddy, and MR Shah said that even if someone survives from the Covid-19 diseases, they are finished financially and economically due to the unaffordable prices of the treatment of Covid-19.

The Apex Court has taken the matter suo moto after noticing the Covid-19 situation in the country from the treatment of the Covid-19 Patients to the handling of the dead bodies. The court also said that either the state government makes more and more provisions or ask the private hospitals to put a cap on its high fees which they charge in treating the Covid-19 patients.

The court observed,

Right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Right to health includes affordable treatment. Therefore, it is the duty of the state to make provisions for affordable treatment and more and more provisions in the hospitals to be run by the state and/or local administration are made. It cannot be disputed that for whatever reasons the treatment has become costlier and costlier and it is not affordable to the common people at all. Even if one survives from COVID-19, financially and economically he is finished. Therefore, either more and more provisions are to be made by the state government and the local administration or there shall be a cap on the high fees charged by the private hospitals, which can be in the exercise of the powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The court directs the state to make more and more provisions to make affordable treatment for the treatment of covid-19 patients. The court said,

Due to unprecedented pandemic, everybody in the world is suffering, one way or the other. It is a world war against COVID-19. Therefore, there shall be a government public partnership to avoid world war against COVID-19.”

The Apex court also emphasized upon doing more and more testing of Covid-19 and making accurate facts and figures. The court directed the State to issue proper guidelines with regard to the following measures so as to effectively monitor and supervise the implementation of various SOPs and guidelines. Along with it, it also stressed the deployment of more and more police personnel where there is a likelihood of public gatherings.


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