Lack of Affordable Medical Facilities: A Violation of Right to Life (Article 21) of Indian Constitution
Lack of Affordable Medical Facilities: A Violation of Right to Life (Article 21) of Indian Constitution.
Pandemic has tested the medical sciences and facilities of several Nations. Developed countries with the best medical facilities have failed tremendously and the same has been witnessed during the first wave of Covid-19.
India was not that much affected then and somehow managed the situation even without not best medical facilities, but the second wave has not bared any one and the nation witnessed huge death rates.
Though we have overcome a lot, but the questions still remains the same: Is this enough for the country like India who is the second most populous nation in the world?
If NO, then Isn’t a lack of healthcare facility , a violation of Article 21 of Indian Constitution?
As ‘Roti’, ‘Kapda’, ‘Makan’ have been the basis of life till now, but pandemic has taught that medical facilities are also included in it after 2019. So, now it’s ‘Food’, ‘Clothing’, ‘Shelter’ and ‘Health’.
Merely providing healthcare facilities is not enough it should be affordable to all the strata of the society.
Look at the situation of vaccination drive, those who have received, it is well and good but what about those who are unable to book their slots and why is it so? Is it due to less vaccine centres across the nation?
And if we get a slot then vaccines are not upto the demand – Is it due to shortage of vaccine production?
And what about the lower strata of society who are uneducated, living in slums and villages, who are unable to afford the smart phones or any technology, who are not having medical centres or hospitals in their area- How will they book the slots or will get vaccinated? Has anyone thought of it? This is what leads up to the question of affordable medical facilities.
International Conventions/ Bodies and Case law
Lack of medical facilities is not only a violation of Right to Life but a violation of Human Rights too.
India being party to several international conventions like ICCPR i.e (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and UDHR i.e (Universal Declaration on Human Rights), needs to address the issue urgently as these conventions mandates for the proper and affordable healthcare to all without any discrimination.
The provisions of these conventions have become the basis of several acts and judgements in India.
Like in a Case of ESC Ltd. v. Subhash Chandra Bose (1992):
Supreme court upholds right to health to a worker, by citing the provisions of Article 25(2) of UDHR and Article 7(b) of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
World Health Organisation defines “Health” as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity.
Which clearly indicates that a cure to a disease doesn’t means a proper healthcare but a necessary and affordable medical care not physically but mentally also.
Components of Healthcare
There are certain components of health care which defines the term more properly and extensively.
* Right two proper and correct health care.
* Right two sufficient supply of water food shelter and nutrition.
* Right to have a safe and healthy working in environment.
* Right to have reproductive mother and child health care.
* Right to know every information about a better health.
* Equal participation in decision making related to health.
Indian Constitution and Right to health
Even Indian Constitution mandates the Right to Proper Healthcare to its Citizens under Article 21, which has been discussed and deleberated in several Case Laws like:
State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh Chawla (1997)
Here Supreme Court, has obliged the government to provide health facilities to its citizens, as right to health is an inseparable part of right to life and include this concept within its ambit.
Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti v. State of West Bengal, (1996)
Here Court, came to the conclusion that failure of timely medical care to a patient in government hospital leads to violation of his right to life.
As these days, we all have witnessed the failure of our healthcare system due to overburdening of work on our frontline workers and the increasing number of cases across the nation. It has not only failed due to these reasons but due to those inhuman individuals or private hospitals as well who took this hard times as a means to make money by demanding a huge amount against a vaccine or a life saving drug or an injection.
While the whole country was suffering from Oxygen deficiency, in those tough times also they never missed a chance of earning a huge amount by blackmarketing it, and violating a basic human right of every individual who was in urgent need.
Even hospitals have made this as a business, keeping aside their morality and medical ethics, by declaring individuals dead after sccumbed to the deadly virus and selling their organs after preparing fake Covid reports.
For me each and every person or body who in some way or the other had tried to make a money out of this serious situation, is an accuse of violation of human right as well as right to proper and necessary healthcare under Article 21 of Indian Constitution, and requires a serious penalties and punishments upon them.