Local Address Proof Not Mandatory for a COVID Patient for Hospital Admission, says Supreme Court
Moneylife Digital Team 03 May 2021
While asking the union government to frame within two weeks a uniform national policy on hospital admissions, the Supreme Court has said that no patient should be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in any state and union territory (UT) for lack of local residential proof of that state or UT or even in the absence of identity proof.
 
Quoting the SC order, a report from LiveLaw says, "The central government shall, within two weeks, formulate a national policy on admissions to hospitals which shall be followed by all state governments. Till the formulation of such a policy by the central government, no patient shall be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in any state/UT for lack of local residential proof of that state/UT or even in the absence of identity proof."  
The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat in the suo motu Re Distribution of Essential Services and Supplies During Pandemic case. The order was reserved on 30th April but released on Sunday night.
 
As per the report, the apex court also ordered the Indian government to rectify the deficit in liquid medical oxygen supply for the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) on or before the midnight of 3rd May.
 
"The union government shall ensure, in terms of the assurance of the solicitor general, that the deficit in the supply of oxygen to the GNCTD is rectified within two days from the date of the hearing, that is, on or before the midnight of 3 May 2021", directed the Supreme Court. 
 
The bench also asked the governments not to clampdown on save our soul (SOS) calls on social media for COVID help. It says, "The central government and state governments shall notify all chief secretaries and directors general of police and commissioners of police that any clampdown on information on social media or harassment caused to individuals seeking or delivering help on any platform will attract a coercive exercise of jurisdiction by this Court. The registrar (judicial) is also directed to place a copy of this order before all district magistrates in the country."
 
Further the SC asked central government to revisit its initiatives and protocols, including those on the availability of oxygen, availability and pricing of vaccines, availability of essential drugs at affordable prices in the light of the concerns raised by the bench, the report says.
 
The apex court observed that the way the centre's current vaccine policy has been framed, it would prima facie result in a detriment to the right to public health which is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution.
 
"We believe that the central government should consider revisiting its current vaccine policy to ensure that it withstands the scrutiny of Articles 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution," the bench says.
 
Next hearing in the matter is scheduled on 10th May.
 
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