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Denial of Healthcare Services in India during Covid-19 Pandemic

Author: Rajrishi Ramaswamy, Student, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, India

Abstract Medical professionals play an important role in the society. This fact is axiomatic and globally accepted. The World Health Organization (hereinafter WHO) recognizes health professionals’ role to be central and critical to the well-being of a population. Services of a medical professional thereby are essential to each and every person and many countries across the world recognize access to healthcare to be a Fundamental Right. Even in India, the Supreme Court has in cases such as State of Punjab vs Mohinder Singh Chawla, recognized access to healthcare to be a Fundamental Right which falls under the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which deals with ‘right to life and personal liberty’. Ever since the Government of India declared a nationwide lockdown in March 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic, many legal issues including an increase in domestic violence cases, the spread of misinformation, etc. have risen. One such issue is the denial of healthcare. The gravity of the issue increased with an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases increased in the country. This short research article enlists a few of such instances and elaborates on the cause(s) for their occurrences and then elaborates on the issues highlighted through these incidents and the possible solutions to tackle said issues. This article then lays emphasis on few judgements of the Supreme Court where access to Healthcare was recognized as a Fundamental Right, which can be applied in such circumstances to mitigate losses which may result due to denial of healthcare.

Keywords: Healthcare Services, covid-19 pandemic, Right to Healthcare, Fundamental Rights

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