SC: Denying Financial Assistance in Covid-19, Violative of Art 14 & 21

Aishwarya Rathore

Published on: August 12, 2021, at 13:10 IST

The Supreme Court issued notice to Krishna Institute Of Medical Sciences Limited (KIMS) in a wife’s plea seeking 1 crore from PM Cares and State CM Relief Funds as financial assistance after she had exhausted her savings over her husband’s COVID-19 treatment.

Due to the lack of an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine at AIIMS Bhopal, the petitioner’s spouse was airlifted and admitted to KIMS Hospital in Secunderabad, Telangana.

Justice LN Rao stated, “We have already told the petitioner that nothing can be done but we had only served the Union to see if something could be done from their end.”

The Plea stated, “Not providing necessary financial assistance to save life of the husband of Petitioner is violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution and the same can be construed as inaction on part of the State in providing inadequate health care to the citizens, particularly during the prevailing Covid-19 situation.”

The Plea further stated, “The PM Cares Fund is a national endeavour to provide relief to persons in distress. The fund should be disbursed on the basis of need as per the Deed of trust.”

The plea relies on the Supreme Court’s decision in Centre for Public Interest Litigation vs. Union of India (2020), which ruled that the core objective of dealing with any type of emergency or distress scenario, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is to provide relief to the affected.

In Parmanand Katara V. Union of India & Ors (1989), the Court held categorically that it is the State’s obligation to preserve life.

The matter will be next heard on August 13.

Click here to Read/Download the Order

Also Read: SC: Rejoinder against Bail on ground of Apprehension of Death due to COVID

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