A letter has been addressed to Chief Justice Sanjay Karol of Patna High Court by Saurav Narayan, an LL.B Student at Law centre 1, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, expressing lament over the decision of administrative Authority in Vaishali District, Bihar, regarding closing down essential services including health facilities and medical establishments in the Containment Zone.
The letter stated further that the order appears to be in discrepancy and violation of the guidelines of expressly issued by MHA vide notification dated 29.07.2020 for unlock 3 permitting medical and essential services in the containment zones and the similar order of Home Deptt, Govt. of Bihar continuing the medical establishments to remain functional in containment zones.
The Apex and Higher judiciary have jealously guarded the wings of the Public health and time and again emphasised on the essentiality of this right in public domain which concern the individual health.
In State of Punjab v. Ram Bagga, the Court held that the Public health and essential services should be the priority of the govt. and other authorities to make life meaningful for each and every citizen.
It further highlighted that,
The important of Public health yet again echoed in the Judgment of Vincent Panikurlangara v. Union of India wherein the Court held that the Maintenance and Improvement of Public health and essential services should be the priority in determining policies and to uplift the standards of the community.
Ranganathan Mishra J. observation hold high grounds regarding right to health vis-a-vis right to life, “Article 21 guarantees right to life and this court has interpreted the guarantee to cover a life with normal amenities assuring good living which include medical attention, life free from diseases and longevity upto normal extension”.
By pointing out the plight of the citizen, the letter further stated that the lacunas in the administration and handling of patients in COVID hospitals are evident across the country, one heart-wrenching incident in Bettiah, Bihar where a man died at a Hospital after alleging shocking lapses on the video. The management of hospitals for essential services is in very sorry state of affairs particularly in Bihar where one Allopathic Doctor serves 43,788 people as compared to ideal one doctor for 1000 people (WHO report).
In furtherance to the above mentioned situation, it was stated in the letter that,
“The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed us to deep inequalities and unpredicted exigencies which are getting herculean as the day passes. The plight of migrant workers is no secret for anyone and their sufferings yet remains to continue. Bihar constitutes a large portion in migrant labourers and has a scaling poverty rate where half a population struggles to arrange two square meals for themselves. The utter implications of order are going to be fatal and dreadful whereby the lives of people in the pandemic when the most craving yet basic need in snatched from them in sway of official order. As it appears and inferred the state of conditions, thousand and lakhs of lives are abandoned in limbo without realising the precarity of the situation. It is thus humbly pleaded, requested and prayed that the orders be taken back and medical establishments with proper and increased care be made available to the citizens for mere living has become a privilege in these testing times.”
The letter has prayed for steps to serve the interests of Public at large in these challenging times and prevent the situation from culminating into an implicit acceptance of social injustice, by upholding the values enshrined in the ever so reverential Constitution of India.
Read the letter here: