SC favours plea for provision of cancer drug

SC favours plea for provision of cancer drug

Vimla Balani filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking direction to her separated 90-year-old husband, Jai Kishan Balani, for continuous supply of Herceptin, a costly drug.
A bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and H L Dattu ordered both Balani and the Centre to provide the drug in an interim arrangement, while asking the two to reply in four weeks.

Vimla’s advocate Vipin Kumar Jai submitted that she would not survive for long if stopped taking the drug. Moreover, she is not in a position to pay for the costly drug, he added. In June 2008, she had approached the Delhi High Court, seeking legal action against her husband’s alleged reluctance to pay for the drug. She was provided drugs under the CGHS, but it was stopped after a row over the payment of the basic price of the medicine.

Jai Kishan had filed a petition for divorce before a Delhi court in November 2007, after 50 years of being separated from his wife. The divorce proceedings were stayed by the high court on an appeal by Vimla. She was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage III) in 2007 and was in dire need of treatment.  The Balanis got married on November 11, 1956 at Jodhpur, and soon discord cropped up. Vimla stayed with her husband for some time and later separately at Delhi, where she was a professor at Delhi University.

Even in 1961, Jai Kishan had filed a petition for judicial separation, but that was withdrawn after he was transferred to Delhi from Rajasthan. However, a family court in Delhi dismissed allegations of extra-marital affairs against Jai Kishan and agreed with him that the marriage had failed, but the separation had not matured for seeking divorce.

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