SC dismisses plea seeking relaxing of medical expenses for non-Covid-19 treatment

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking directions to the Centre, states and Union Territories for taking immediate steps to relax all medical expenses of non-Covid-19 ailments during the coronavirus pandemic.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai dismissed the plea filed by lawyer Sourjya Das in which he said that due to the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, the means of livelihood and businesses of people have come to a halt resulting in financial crisis in numerous families.

The top court also rejected another petition which sought making masks and sanitizers free of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to make it cheaper at the time of coronavirus.

Das in his petition, said, “On perusal of the steps taken by the respondents (Centre, States and UTs), it is valid to infer that the respondents have not taken steps to relax/reduce non-Covid-19 related healthcare/treatment expenses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

He submitted that such omission on the part of the respondents is a direct infringement of the ‘right to life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution, of the members of the public or the citizens of India”.

The plea said following halt in means of livelihood and income, people are spending out of their savings for food and shelter in daily life and the restrictions have hampered life in such a way that no one knows when things will get back to normal.

The advocate said it needs to be considered that at this time, several people require non-covid-19 related medical treatment services like chemotherapy, emergency transplants, colonoscopy, various tests and other various treatments.

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