Race for a Better Scorecard
India Legal|November 16, 2020
Under the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act, the government has a duty under Articles 47 and 21 to save and protect lives. It, therefore, cannot put curbs on testing of Covid-19 patients
Dr KK Aggarwal

THE number of patients suffering from Covid-19 is rapidly increasing worldwide, with the death toll also shooting up. In India, in spite of various measures taken by the government and different states and Union Territories, the number of patients and deaths is increasing daily. In March 2020, the government invoked the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act to curb the spread of the pandemic. By invoking them, the central and state governments took upon themselves the obligation and responsibility under Article 47 as a part of guarantee under Article 21 of the Constitution to save and protect the lives of the public at large from the pandemic.

The fundamental right under Article 21 states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except acc - or ding to the procedure established by law. Right to health has been recognised as a fundamental right. This right is not simply the right not to be unwell, but the right to be well. It encompasses not just the absence of disease or infirmity, but “complete physical, mental and social well-being”, and includes freedoms such as the right to control one’s health and body and to be free from interference (for instance, from non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation), and entitlements such as the right to a system of healthcare that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health.

The fundamental right to health includes healthcare that is accessible and available for the public at large. Health - care access is the ability to obtain healthcare services such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases, illness and disorders. Right to adequate healthcare flows from the sanctity of human life and the dignity that belongs to all persons.

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