Right to Health


Written by TADIWANASHE REJOICE RWIZI 2nd year student of BALLB Lovely Professional University, the article discusses the right to health and its application, and the duty for the right is imposed.

The right to health is considered an international human right. The Indian constitution has no specific provisions that talk about the right to health but is covered under Art 21. Although separately it has been denied a position of being a fundamental right, various provisions are mentioned in the Indian constitution which addresses the Right to Health. The orders and guidelines for good health in the Indian Constitution have been mentioned in Art 38, 39 (e) (f),42, 47, and 48 and other parts of Part IV of the constitution of India.

The Indian Constitution having Part IV gives duty to the State towards its citizens by taking adequate measures in ensuring good health policies and facilities, as also added up by Art 38 which directs the State to impose and secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people (socially, economically, politically). Art 39 (e) also imposes a duty on the State to secure the health and strength of its workers both women and men, making the tender age not to be prone to abusive sites or factors which includes their right to good health and also prioritizing their citizens not to be forced by economic necessities to enter avocations unsuited for their health and strength i.e. child labor and old men and women doing masculine jobs to attain a living.

Art 39(f) of the Indian constitution also enforces a right to health by making children have opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner provided by their guardians and protecting youth and children from moral and maternal abandonment. Art41 also implies a duty on the State to serve this right to health by ordering the State to give public assistance basically for those who are sick and disabled.

Art42 also imposes the duty on the State to primarily protect the health of infants and mothers by maternity benefit to save lives, being complimented by art 47 which gives the duty to the state to raise levels of nutrition and the standard of living of its people. However, despite the mentioned Directive principle of policies mentioned in the Indian constitution, the right to health is not guaranteed The right should be mentioned in the constitution for the sake of it be power and implied for public welfare so that if violated it can be addressed as per codified procedures.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution about the Right to Health

It notes, ‘no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by the law’. The meaning of the right to life is broad as it covers many aspects that build a human life which includes health, dignity, and decency. According to some historical judgment in the case of Consumer Education and Resource Center vs. Union of India, the supreme court held that the right to health and medical care is more of a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. Right to life in art 21 has a broader meaning including favorable conditions for a better livelihood either in workplaces or during leisure times, making the state or union liable for the same in the lives of its citizens.

Other cases which laid Art21 in line with the right to health include:

Bandhau Mukti Morchas vs Union of India

Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti vs State of Bengal (this case raised a question before the court if non-availability of services in the government health centers is not a violation of art 21 which came out to be)

State of Punjab and Others vs Mohinder Singh Chawla

Conclusion and Suggestions

The Indian Constitution does mention the right to health separately to avoid confusion. The judiciary after various judgments encountered for the public welfare and common good we should come to the conclusion of the Judiciary making a separate provision in case of any violation it will be easier to take action based on the prescribed measures concerning the same. The right to life is integral to the right to life as per the supreme court judgments and DPSP making the state liable for health care.

Author: Tadiwanashe Rejoice Rwizi,

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