38.6c New Delhi, India, Sunday, April 21, 2024
Judiciary

State Can’t Use Excuse of Medical Emergency to Deny Rights Under Art 21: Telangana HC [READ ORDER]

By Parth Thummar      24 May, 2020 12:32 PM      1 Comments
Excuse of Medical Emergency

In the case of Ganta Jai Kumar v. the State of Telangana while disposing of PIL on May 20, 2020, division bench of Telangana HC comprising Justices M. S. Ramachandra Rao and K. Lakshman held that under the guise of taking steps to prevent the spread of the Pandemic, the State can’t restrict the liberty and freedom of a citizen to choose his own doctor and hospital and force him to take a test for COVID-19 infection or treatment from Government sources.

Background of the case: 

PIL was filed to declare the action of the State of Telangana and other respondents in not permitting the “private hospitals” and “diagnostic centers” which are equipped with the necessary equipment and personnel and willing to conduct diagnostic tests for COVID-19 virus and to admit patients for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 virus was arbitrary, illegal and without power and also direct the respondents to permit the same. 

Initially, the Government had permitted all private hospitals to deal with COVID-19 cases from 21.3.2020 till 11.4.2020 but the District Medical and Health Officer, Hyderabad, in his first order dt.11.4.2020, while permitting the private hospitals to deal with COVID-19 cases had introduced a prohibition against them from dealing with ordinary elective procedures and surgeries so that the entire attention could be diverted towards treating the COVID-19 patients even by private hospitals. However subsequently by another order dt.11.4.2020, on the same day, the District Medical and Health Officer, Hyderabad had canceled the earlier order issued on the same day. The result was that private hospitals were totally prohibited from treating COVID-19 patients.

 

Contentions of petitioner:

The petitioner contended that treatment in the government hospitals is inadequate, dismal, lacking hygiene; and that methods of treatment adopted are very ordinary and simple medication in view of the cost factor involved in the event of adapting or trying new methods of treatment.

Relying on Art.21 of the Constitution of India he contended that it allows the right of the person to choose his own doctor and hospital as per his choice and the State under the guise of taking steps to prevent the spread of the Pandemic cannot restrict the liberty and freedom of a citizen to choose his own doctor and hospital and force him to take treatment from Government sources particularly in view of the limited resources of the Government. 

He also contended that though certain Private Corporate Hospitals like Apollo Hospital, Yashoda Hospital, Kamineni Hospital, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Star Hospitals, etc are ready and willing to start separate facilities and isolation wards for containment of COVID-19, they are not being allowed to treat the suspected COVID-19 patients by the respondents.

Advocate General who had appeared for the State of Telangana countered by saying that the PIL was filed by vested interests and appeared to be filed as a proxy of private hospitals in the State of Telangana and no public interest was involved. 

 

The Decision of the Court:

 

The Court held that the permission to private hospitals was withdrawn same day without reason and it was a violation of the basic principle of administrative law that every action of the State which affects the rights of citizens must be supported by reasons so that a Court, can, while judicially reviewing it, know that there is an application of mind to the issue by the authority concerned, which passed the said order. 

The Court found that there is no power in S. 2 (Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease) of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 either to prevent private hospitals from testing suspected any victim of an epidemic such as COVID-19 patients or treating confirmed infected patients. 

The Court held that,

“Maybe the facilities in the Gandhi Hospital or other designated Government Hospitals are very good, but that does not mean that the respondent No.s1 - 4 can, under the guise of taking steps to prevent the spread of the Pandemic, restrict the liberty and freedom of a citizen to choose his own doctor and hospital and force him to take a test for COVID-19 infection or treatment from Government sources if found to be infected with the said virus.”

(emphasis supplied)

Interestingly the Court remarked that,

“The State, by allowing people who can afford the private lab testing and treatment/isolation services can preserve its limited facilities for the poorest of the poor by giving them free of cost testing and treatment.”

While setting aside the said order, the Court held that the order is violative of Art.14 and Art.21 of the Constitution of India and also the principles of natural justice (for not giving any reasons).

The Court also appreciated the petitioner for approaching the Court and bringing to their lordships’ notice an important issue concerning the health and lives of our fellow citizens.

 

 [READ ORDER]



Share this article:



John Doe
Avigna Diagnostics Apr 30, 2021

Avigna Diagnostics testing services provide patients accurate and diagnostically meaningful results. To this end strict Quality Control programmes – both Internal and External are incorporated into our laboratory processes. While no medical testing should be considered routine, Avigna Diagnostics boasts of a highly expertised staff that is capable of accurate professional services from the most basic of tests to the most sensitive technical procedures.

Leave a feedback about this
TRENDING NEWS

sc-orders-medical-examination-of-yr-old-rape-survivor-seeking-to-terminate-her-week-pregnancy
Trending Judiciary
SC orders medical examination of 14-yr-old rape survivor seeking to terminate her 28-week pregnancy

Supreme Court orders medical examination of 14-year-old rape survivor seeking termination of 28-week pregnancy. Decision to be made after evaluating impact on her health.

20 April, 2024 11:00 AM

TOP STORIES

need-to-safeguard-judiciary-from-unwarranted-pressures-21-ex-judges-write-letter-to-cji
Trending Legal Insiders
Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures: 21 ex-judges write letter to CJI

21 ex-judges write to CJI Chandrachud urging protection of judiciary from pressures undermining its integrity and autonomy.

15 April, 2024 12:17 PM
sc-notice-to-ed-declines-early-date-on-plea-by-delhi-cm-arvind-kejriwal-against-arrest
Trending Judiciary
SC notice to ED; declines early date on plea by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal against arrest

SC issues notice to ED, declines early hearing on Delhi CM Kejriwal's plea against arrest in liquor scam.

15 April, 2024 03:08 PM
call-for-chapters-gender-based-violence-and-religion
Trending Law School
Call For Chapters: Gender-Based Violence and Religion

Calling For Book Chapters: As an editor, Dr. Amit Anand, Assistant Professor, School of Legal Studies, REVA University, Bengaluru, is inviting people to contribute to a book, entitled "Gender-Based Violence and Religion." This book is scheduled to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

15 April, 2024 04:21 PM
cannot-stop-any-public-rally-bombay-hc-says-on-allegation-that-ram-navami-processions-deliberately-pass-through-muslim-majority-areas
Trending Top Stories
Cannot stop any public rally, Bombay HC on allegation that Ram Navami processions deliberately pass through Muslim-majority areas

The Bombay High Court calls upon the Maharashtra Police to ensure that no law and order issues occur during a Ram Navami rally in a Muslim-majority area in Mumbai.

15 April, 2024 06:36 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email