Amidst the entire country trying to tackle and overcome the pandemic, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court stating that the healthcare sector must be nationalized until the pandemic is under control.
The PIL was filed by a Delhi based Advocate Amit Dwivedi on Wednesday seeking direction to the Centre and the state to nationalize complete healthcare sector and associate providers until the pandemic COVID-19 contained. The petitioner stresses that the fight against COVID-19 is entirely depended on the healthcare sector of the country for which the country’s public health sector is not alone equipped to fight against it. Therefore, it was stated in the PIL that all healthcare facilities, all institutes, all companies and all entities related to health care sector situated in the territory of the Union of India to conduct tests, all subsequent tests, procedures and treatments in relation to COVID-19 disease free of cost for all citizens of India till the pandemic COVID-19 is contained.
He also argued that for years the expenditure and the development of infrastructure in the health sector have been inadequate especially during a crisis like this. In the budget of 2020, only 1.6% of its total estimated budget (Rs 67,489 crores) expenditure on public health which very less in comparison with the low-income countries. He also pointed out that private facilities are not very much affordable to the majority of Indians.
Amit Dwivedi contended that right to health as part of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court the right to receive necessary treatment has been held to be an inalienable part of the right to life of a person, Article 47 stipulates improvement of public health among the primary duties of the state, followed by Article 38 which requires the state to eliminate inequality in status, facilities and opportunities. The plea also relies on Article 25(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
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