SOCIAL JURIST A LAWYERS GROUP Vs. GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
SOCIAL JURIST, A LAWYERS GROUP,COURTS ON ITS OWN MOTION
UNION OF INDIA,GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI
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SWATANTER KUMAR, J. -
(1.) The constitutional mandate for assuring the dignity of individual is contained in the very preamble of the Constitution of India. To live with dignity would take within its ambit legitimate expectation of the citizens of the country for being provided with good environment and health care. Unlike right to education, right to health and healthy environment has so far not been incorporated in the fundamental rights of the people of India. However, an obligation in the form of directive principle under Article 47 of the Constitution is casted upon the State to raising of standard of living of its people and improvement of public health among its primary duties. The State has to ensure that this obligation is not rendered nugatory by inaction or inadequate action on the part of the State and its instrumentalities. Leaving aside its dogmatic approach, it must ameliorate by taking recourse to policies and steps and by involving other appropriate forums to achieve the object of better public health. The standards of public health certainly are not the ones which framers of the Constitution desired to incorporate in such definite and unambiguous language. Coordination between different wings and departments of the State is essential and they must act in full coordination with each other so as to implement its policies in this regard. The times have come when the State has to prescribe a proper course of action and take steps well in time to ensure that private sector which comes up for the assistance of the Government and claims various concessions during the period of establishing their big multi-specialty and super-specialized hospitals, must conform to the conditions of law and the persons in position should not only check the breach of conditions but ensure consequential actions. The Government and various authorities should act ab ante in the event of breach and then ensure actio quaelibet it sua via to achieve its logical end. Lack of interest from any quarter would result in uncharitable profits to the private sector at the cost of deteriorating standards of public health and depriving the poor strata of the society from seeking benefits of the State policies only as a result of poor governance.
(2.) Moved with the unconcerned attitude of the public authorities and lack of adequate facilities for health care to poorer sections of the society with particular reference to breach of conditions of free treatment to poor in compliance to the condition of allotment of land to such hospitals/medical institutions, Social Jurist, A lawyers Group filed a writ petition being WP(C) No. 2866/2002 praying that conditions of allotment of land to hospitals/nursing homes particularly in regard to free treatment to the poor and indigent persons are complied with and the respondent authorities be directed to take action against those hospitals in accordance with law and to take action on the recommendations of Justice Qureshi Committee. In the petition, prayer was also made for holding a high level enquiry and also a direction that action be taken against the erring officers.
(3.) The court vide its order dated 7.5.2002 directed the Government to place on record, the status report on the basis of the recommendation made by Justice Qureshi Committee whereafter the matter proceeded on different aspects of the case and various orders were passed by the court which we would shortly refer and finally the writ petition was heard in relation to 20 hospitals out of number of hospitals to whom the land was allotted either by the DDA or LandDO and according to the authorities concerned conditions of free treatment to poor patients was applicable to all these hospitals. Out of these 20 hospitals, most of the hospitals had, in fact, accepted the condition but two hospitals i.e. Escort Heart Instt and Research Center and Dharam Shila Cancer Foundation and Research Center had contended that the condition of free patient treatment even in its limited aspect was not applicable to them. Arguments were heard and judgment was reserved in that writ petition.;
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