Recently, the Supreme Court has observed that the fundamental right to health also includes affordable and accessible treatment.
The Apex Court observed that the State government and the local administration should either make more provisions or cap the fees charged by private hospitals by exercising its powers under the Disaster Management Act.
Right to Affordable Treatment Implied in Fundamental Right to Health
It was further observed that the State government should make provisions for affordable and accessible treatment and to ensure that adequate provisions were available at State-run hospitals to avoid world war like situation during the pandemic.
A three-judge bench stated of the Supreme Court stated that right to health is a fundamental right and is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the Right to health also includes right to affordable care and treatment.
The Bench noted that the treatment for Covid-19 is getting costlier day by day and the common man was unable to afford it. Even if a common man manages to survive it, he is economically and financially finished.
Therefore, the local authorities and the State government should provide more provisions and put a cap on the fees charged by private hospitals.
Hon’ble Court suggested that testing for Covid-19 should be increased and correct facts and figures should be declared so that the general public does not get misled and put their guards down.
Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court
After the fire incident that occurred in Rajkot on 26.11.2020 where many Covid-19 patients had succumbed, the Court took Suo Motu cognizance and issued the following guidelines:-
- All-Union territories and States should appoint a nodal officer for each Covid hospital who shall ensure that all safety regulations have complied.
- State government should form a committee in every district whose job will be to carry out a fire audit of Covid hospitals at least once a month and inform the management if they found any deficiency.
- If any Covid hospital has not taken NOC from the fire department, then they should obtain it at the earliest. If the NOC was not renewed periodically, then appropriate action will be taken against them.