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Can anybody be deserted to die only because he is poor?
On May 27, 2011,Delhi High Court, in a judgement that's now being seen as a precedent, pronounced that the Right to life is a person's fundamental right and it's violation by the state would not be tolerated when the state should protect it.
CAN ANYBODY be deserted to die only because he is poor? We have the ninth richest in the world who is being prophesied to reach the top most spot very soon. At the same time, we have a third of the world’s poor living in our country with little or no hope to ever have access to the basic amenities for life sustenance.
Can the state deny a person’s Right to Life on the ground of economic stringency?
On May 27, 2011, Delhi High Court, in a  judgement which is now being seen as a precedent, pronounced that the Right to life is a person’s fundamental right and it’s violation by the state itself would not be tolerated when it is the duty of the state only to preserve it. The court was hearing a case MasterAman Vs All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).


Aman is a six-year-old boy from a remote district of Uttar Pradesh called Hatras and is suffering from a heart disease. His father, a daily wage labourer, brought him for treatment to AIIMS, a prestigious autonomous hospital of the capital city.
Aman’s father was asked by the hospital authorities to deposit an advance of Rs 25,000 for an operation, which would cost Rs 80,000 in total and was denied ‘free treatment’ on the grounds that he did not possess a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card.

 
Shattered and despaired, Aman’s father knocked the door of the judiciary for justice to save a tiny life, which was being slaughtered in the guise of punishment for his birth into a poor family. He was able to prove his inclusion in the economically weaker sections of the society. Aman won the battle and now, his life will be saved. But there are a million poor Amans out there, longing to sustain, protect and save their lives but unfortunately, succumb, even before they understand the etymology of the words, ‘life’ and ‘death’.

 
This case has raised an array of questions such as, is the criterion for deciding whether ‘free treatment’ would be entitled to a patient should remain the BPL card holding, when we know that that how through bribing BPL cards are made in govt offices and only few out of those many, are truly deserving? Does not, as per the constitution, the Right to life includes the right to basic necessities of life?
 
Is the life of a destitute is not as much of importance as that of a wealthy man? How many poverty-stricken people are aware of their right to redressal or even, if some are aware  how many of them have access to lawyers or how many lawyers get ready to do a case for no fee? “The verdict has entailed another significant point that the Right to Life encompasses Right to Health. The ‘Right to Life’ is equivalent to ‘Right to Life with Dignity’. So, making an already-distressed patient to take rounds of govt offices and hospitals will no longer work”, told Ashok Aggarwal, Aman’s Advocate, in a telephonic interview that did this noble work for free of cost.

 
According to the magazine Economics and Political Weekly, a noteworthy highest court’s judgement to reckon with had been in Paschim Baga Khet Mazoor Samiti Vs State of West Bengal, 1996. The question before the court was whether the non-availability of services in the government health centres amount to a violation of Article 21? It was held that that Article 21 imposes an obligation on the state to safeguard the right to life of every person. Preservation of human life is thus of paramount importance. The government hospitals run by the State and the medical officers employed therein are duty-bound to extend medical assistance for preserving human life. Failure on the part of a government hospital to provide timely medical treatment to a person in need of such treatment results in violation of his right to life guaranteed under Article 21.
 

The High court invoked the honorable Supreme’s court judgments, viz. in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India case,1984 in which the apex court had held that "We think that the right to life includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, namely, the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading, writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and commingle with fellow human beings". Although, it also stated that "the magnitude and content of the components of this right would depend upon the extent of the economic development of the country". (SOURCE: JurisPedia).
 
But, the state has always been using the last clause of economic capacity of the country, to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the stringent implementation of Right to Life to every human being. Till the time this continues to take place, the tiny worlds of poor would continue to be endangered and the cost of a poor life would continue be of peanuts.

 
Therefore, it is the duty of the government to provide you with the right to have access to basic amenities and health care facilities. It is the duty of the state to preserve your life. So, the next time you are denied your right to health, inform the authorities that it is your fundamental right.

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