The court said that all citizens are the responsibility of the state government.

State cannot let its people die because they are poor Kerala HC tells govtCourtesy: Augustus Binu, via Wikimedia Commons
news Law Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 12:30

In a major relief to parents of a boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to meet the medical expenses of the child.

Saying that the government cannot let a person die, just because one cannot afford medical treatment, the High Court asked the state government to pay Rs 50 lakhs a year for the treatment of a child suffering from Pompe disease, which is a Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD)-a group of 50 rare inherited disorders.

The court was reportedly hearing a petition filed by Manoj M of Mezhathur, following the state government’s refusal to pay for his son’s treatment expenses.

“Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution imposes a duty on the government to take whatever steps that are necessary to ensure that the drugs are made available to such persons, for, a welfare state cannot permit anybody to die for the reason that he or she has no means to afford treatment expenses," the court said. 

In his petition, the Palakkad native said that his son was being treated at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences for free under a charitable programme run by the drug manufacturer. 

When Manoj approached the state government with concerns that the drug manufacturer may discontinue the free supply of drugs, the government provided six vials of the drug for his son’s treatment. However, the drug provided by the government did not last for more than a fortnight. 

In response to the petition filed by Manoj, the state government maintained that it was not in a position to bear the medical expenditure of patients suffering from LSDs. It informed the court that it bears equal responsibility to all the people under its governance, and resources are to be used to provide maximum benefits to maximum number of people. 

Manoj's elder daughter had died of the same disease in 2010. 

 

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