Radhakrishnan R., a tailor by profession belonging to below poverty line category has moved the Kerala High Court alleging repeated denial of 'right to medical care' by the Government hospitals in the state, until the Corona crisis abates.
The Petitioner, though Advocates SK Adhithyan and Keerthi S Jyothi, has submitted that he was diagnosed with three blockages in the heart and has since suffered three cardiac arrests, but was denied medical (Bypass) surgery by the Government hospitals, on the ground of giving priority to COVID patients.
He further submitted that he belongs to the BPL category and cannot afford the hefty amount of Rs. 10,00,000/- being charged by the private hospitals to perform the 'Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting/ Intensive Medical Management' on him.
He has thus submitted that he needs "urgent medical attention" however, the inaction on the part of the Respondent Government hospitals has left him "medically stranded" and it impinges upon his Right to health which is an integral part of the Right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.
"Right to life under Art.21 of the Constitution includes the right to lead and dignified and meaningful life and the right to health is an integral facet of right to life," the Petitioner has submitted in view of Devika Biswas v. Union of India & Ors., 2016 (10) SCC 733.
The plea further states that right to health must also be considered an aspect of social justice, not only enumerated under Article 21 of the Constitution of India but also under the Directive Principles of State Policy and International Conventions in which India is a party.
The Petitioner has therefore prayed that the right to access public health facilities should be declared as a Fundamental right.
"The right to access public health facilities and medical treatment is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A Division Bench of Hon'ble Chattisgarh High Court in Kali Bai Sita Ram Kasar v. Union of India , 2018 KHC 3984, Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, J. held that right to access to public health facilities is a fundamental right under Article 21 right to life and personal liberty as it is part of right to health. The Hon'ble Manipur High Court, in Nongthombam v State of Manipur & Ors, 2019 KHC 3253 has held that right to health and medical treatment is not an integral facet of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and denial of the same in a government medical facility will amount to violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and also directed compensation to be granted in the case," the plea states.
It is averred that no legislative framework or government order is in force to deny proper public health facilities to patients other than COVID-19.
"There is no procedure established by law as prescribed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India for denying public health facilities to patients who have not been contracted with COVID-19," the plea states.
Therefore, it has been pleaded that the inaction on the part of the Respondent Government Hospitals be declared as unconstitutional and violative of fundamental right to equality enshrined under Article 14 and Right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Further, the Petitioner has sought a direction to the Respondents to conduct CABG on him or to find an alternative public health facility for the same in case the Respondents do not have adequate means.
A PIL was filed before the Delhi High Court last month, seeking directions for the government to ensure that non-COVID patients, who are suffering from other illnesses, are given adequate attention and treatment in hospitals.
The Bombay High Court had also recently sought replies from the state and the central government in a batch of PILs contending that hospitals in the city are turning away non-covid19 patients.