SC notice to GoI on plea for fund to help Covid patient

SC notice to Centre on plea for Rs 1 cr aid for lung replacement of Covid-infected man

The counsel of the man said he was seeking financial assistance for the medical procedure under Article 21 of the Constitution

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI file photo

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Union government on a woman's plea to provide Rs 1 crore aid from the PM Cares Fund for her husband who suffered huge health complications due to Covid-19 and incurred Rs 1 crore in cost for treatment and required the sum for replacement of his lungs.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to the Union the Madhya Pradesh governments on a writ petition filed by Sheela Mehra.

The bench initially asked the petitioner's counsel under what right he can seek reimbursement of the money spent on treatement of the man. The counsel, however, said he was seeking financial assistance for the medical procedure under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court finally decided to seek the Centre's reply and put the matter for consideration on Tuesday, August 10.

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In her plea filed through advocate Krishna Kumar Singh, the woman said no life should meet its end for reason of financial constraints and the State is duty-bound to extend help in appropriate cases as the PM Cares Fund is a national endeavour to provide relief to persons in distress. 

The counsel said Rs 3 lakh from PMO's office and Rs two 2 have been sanctioned from the MP Chief Minister's Relief Fund to the woman, which was highly insufficient.

On May 4, 2021 the man got infected with Covid-19. With high doses of steroids, the condition of her husband got worsened. He was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). After initial treatment at AIIMS Bhopal, he was shifted to Yashoda hospital, Secunderabad on June 11 for lungs transplant. At present, he was at KIMS hospital, where his treatment was costing Rs 2 lakh per day and he required Rs 1 crore for lungs transplant due to his grim situation. 

Her plea contended failure to provide necessary financial assistance to save life of her husband would be violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution and it can be construed as inaction on part of the State in providing adequate health care to the citizens, particularly during the prevailing Covid-19 situation.