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HC directs CIHSR to continue treatment to 1-yr-old girl despite “certain unpaid dues”

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 19: Declaring that Right to Life and Personal Liberty provided under the Constitution also includes the right of patients to be treated with dignity and that preservation of human life is of paramount importance in a Welfare State, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has issued an interim order directing the Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CIHSR), Dimapur, to continue to provide treatment to a 1-year-old girl despite “certain unpaid dues”.
The judgement ~ nothing short of a landmark ~ was delivered by Justice Devashis Baruah on February 18 in a case filed by one Thejangulie, a resident of Medzhiphema, against the CIHSR; the Principal Secretary of Health & Family Welfare and the Nagaland Medical Council.
First, after observing that the State of Nagaland was not a party to the case, the Court ‘deemed it proper’ that the former should be a party to the case and impleaded the State of Nagaland, represented by the Chief Secretary, to the writ petition.
“The instant writ petition has been filed by the petitioner, who is the father of a baby, aged about 1 year and 3 months. The grievance of the petitioner is that on account of certain unpaid dues, the respondent No. 1 (CIHSR), which is an institute of Health Sciences & Research, set up on the basis of tripartite partnership between Christian Medical College, Vellore, Emmanuel Hospital Association, New Delhi, and the Government of Nagaland, as a charitable society and organisation… the only grievance of the petitioner in the instant petition is that the baby, who is presently suffering from Global Cortical Atrophy, requires treatment and sans the treatment presently meted out to her by the respondent No. 1, she would not survive. The Learned Counsel further submits that at present, there is no other hospital in the State of Nagaland which provides such treatment”, the order read.
Then Justice Baruah went on to state: “Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution also includes the right of patients to be treated with dignity. Similarly right to health, i.e. right to live in clean, hygienic and safe environment is a right covered under Article 21 of the Constitution”.
He then cited a Supreme Court judgement in the case of Union of India vs Moolchand Khairati Ram Trust (in 2018), which had discussed in detail as regards entitlement of have-nots to medical treatment.
In that judgment, the apex Court had observed that every doctor, whether at Government hospital or otherwise, has the professional obligation to extend his services, with due expertise, for protecting life.
“And the said obligation is total, absolute and paramount; and laws of procedure, whether in statutes or otherwise which would interfere with the discharge of this obligation, cannot be sustained and must, therefore, give way and there is an obligation upon the doctor to treat the injured victims on his appearance before him either by himself or being carried out by others”, the SC had ruled then.
Then Justice Baruah reminded that in a Welfare State, the primary duty of the Government is to secure the welfare of the people “and to provide adequate medical treatment is an essential obligation to be undertaken by the Government in a Welfare State”.
“Government discharges this obligation by running hospitals and health centres which provide medical care to the person seeking to avail of those facilities. Preservation of human life is, thus, of paramount importance and it is a duty imposed upon the Government to provide timely care to serious persons”, he remarked.
Thus on the basis of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the 2018 judgment and taking into consideration the present need that the child in question, Justice Baruah directed that till the next hearing (not specified), CIHSR should continue to provide the treatment being meted out to the child.
“The entitlement of the respondent No. 1 to the amount as claimed in the legal notice as well as the treatment meted out to the child of the petitioner, shall be considered on the returnable date”, he added.
(Page News Service)