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Petition seeking Ayurvedic treatment for Asaram Bapu under custody raises judicial questions

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Rajasthan high Court sought response from the state government on a petition filed by Asaram Bapu’s son seeking Ayurvedic treatment for his father.

The petition alleges that the heath of Asaram Bapu has been deteriorating over the past three years of judicial custody due to inappropriate and inefficient medical treatment provided to him by the prison authorities.

It also reflects that Asaram Bapu has been developing more life endangering ailements despite of the medical treatment offered.

It is stated that he is accustomed to Ayurvedic treatment since the seven decades of his pre custody life and denial of the same is the violation of Article 21 and Article 14 of the Indian constitution system.

“Right to health essentially includes the right to be healthy and right to be medically treated. The right to be medically treated cannot be reduced to a mere formality and its enforcement has to be solely for the purpose of betterment in the health of the person.” states the plea.

It argues that right to choose a medicinal system is an inseparable part of the fundamental right to medical treatment under Article 21. And it cannot be permissible that the state enforces the medical system of its wish on the convict despite of his/her clear preference, even if it is not available for any reason not attributable to the prisoner

The plea has raised several question in front of the court,

  1. Whether fundamental right of a person to be medically treated under article 21 encompasses the right to choose a specific system out of the various systems recognised by the State, which the prisoner believes would improve his/her health?
  2. In case the State denied the preference of the prisoner’s choice of medical treatment would it account to violation of article 14?
  3. Whether it would be a violation of article 21 if the State continues to carry on with the treatment of the prisoner opposite to his/her preference despite of the fact that his/her health is not improving or is deteriorating?

A single judge bench of Justice Arun Bhansali fixed the matter to be heard on 18th May.