The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear plea of a 31-year-old woman seeking a direction to PM-CARES Fund and other authorities to provide monetary assistance of Rs 1 crore for her husband, who is hospitalised since early May, after contracting Covid-19, and requires the money for a lungs replacement procedure.
The couple is one of those families who are facing the financial version of long-haul Covid-19: Exorbitant medical bills, emotional stress and approaching various authorities seeking financial help, have upset their lives. The family claims to have already spent Rs 1 crore in the treatment of the man, which has exhausted all their savings.
As a bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose queried petitioner’s counsel if they were seeking reimbursement of entire amount that they are spending in a private hospital from the government, counsel clarified the matter is not about reimbursement, but seeking financial assistance in the medical procedure, and cited right to health under Article 21.
Counsel informed that PM CARES Fund has released Rs 3 lakh and the CM’s fund has released Rs 2 Lakh, but more financial assistance is required for the lungs transplant of the petitioner’s husband.
At this, the court said: “Can you imagine what would happen, if we issue notice in this matter?” as it asked where is the patient now.
The counsel added that he in a hospital in Hyderabad with an expense of Rs 1.45 lakh per day. The bench said it has sympathies with the patient and trying to find out a way and listed the matter for further hearing on August 10.
Petitioner Sheela Mehra, in the plea filed through advocate Krishna Kumar Singh, said: “Petitioner has spent more than Rs 1 crore on medication of her husband and only turned for help after exhausting all money available to her. The petitioner has also tried crowd funding, personal appeal on social websites, loans from friends and acquaintances before approaching the official respondents for financial help.”
Mehra, in the petition, said no life should meet its end for reason of financial constraints and the state is duty bound to extend help in an appropriate case. She insisted that PM-Cares Fund is a national endeavour to provide relief to the persons in distress situations.