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Supreme Court issues notice in a plea seeking grants from the PM Cares Fund for a medical treatment.

In a case filed before the Supreme Court of India, a wife sought relief from the Court to direct transfer of funds from PM Cares Fund and State CM’s Fund. The plea stated “Not providing necessary financial assistance to save life of the husband of Petitioner is violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and the same can be construed as inaction on the part of the State in providing adequate healthcare to the citizens, particularly during the prevailing Covid 19 situation.

The facts of the case are that Sheela Mehra sought financial assistance/grant from the PM Cares Fund and State CM Fund for a lung transplant for her husband after having exhausted her own savings on the Covid treatment of the husband. The husband was taken to AIIMS Bhopal but due to unavailability of ECMO machine, he was airlifted and then admitted to KIMS Hospital, Secundarabad, Telangana.

The petitioner stated that she personally visited the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with an application for grant for defraying medical expenses of her husband. But the same was rejected as she did not have a recommendation from the Member of Parliament (MoP) of her constituency. According to the staff at the PMO, a recommendation letter was mandatory for processing the document.

The matter was brought before a Division Bench of Justice LN Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose. They orally remarked that although nothing could be done for the petitioner in the Court, they still issued a notice to see if something could be done from the Union’s end. The Court subsequently issued notice to KIMS Hospital.

The petitioner argued that she was entitled to the relief sought on the basis of equity, justice and good conscience. She had a legitimate expectation from the Government. In the case of Parmanand Katara v UOI, the Court held that it is the obligation of the State to preserve life. In Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity v State of WB, it was held had denial of medical treatment to patient in a government Hospital for non- availability of bed is violative of Article 21. In the present case ECMO machine was not available at AIIMS, Bhopal.

Reliance was also placed on Centre for Public Interest Litigation v UOI, wherein it was held that the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected.

The matter has been deferred to a further date.

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In this case a wife sought relief from the Court to direct transfer of funds from PM Cares Fund and State CM’s Fund. She sought financial assistance/grant from the PM Cares Fund and State CM Fund for a lung transplant for her husband after having exhausted her own savings on the Covid treatment of the husband. The Division Bench orally remarked that although nothing could be done for the petitioner in the Court, they still issued a notice to see if something could be done from the Union’s end subsequently issued notice to KIMS Hospital. The matter has been deferred to a further date.

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