Mahendra Pratap Singh v. State of Orissa and Others

AIR 1997 Ori 37
Download Judgment: English
Country: India
Region: Asia
Year: 1996
Court: High Court - Orissa
Health Topics: Health care and health services, Hospitals
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Access to treatment, Clinics, Primary care

The Government of Orissa had failed to open a health facility in a village, despite meeting a number of prescribed conditions. The first condition concerned the minimum provision of land by the local people, within a prescribed timeframe. The second requirement was the provision of adequate buildings for the facility and staff. The Petitioner claimed that though the necessary staff had been appointed, and a piece of land for constructing the building had been purchased, the primary health center was not functioning and the Government was not taking the necessary steps to run the center.

The Petitioner filed a petition in the Orissa High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India claiming there was an infringement of the right to health as derived from Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court held that the Government is required to assist people and its “endeavor should be to see that the people get treatment and lead a healthy life.” Primary health centers should thus be of principal concern and it would be at odds with public health if a Government caused hindrance to the establishment of such centers. The Court ordered the Government of Orissa to comply with the established requirements and procedures by the end of December 1996.

“The Government is required to assist people, and its endeavour should be to see that the people get treatment and lead a healthy life. Healthy society is a collective gain and no Government should make any effort to smother it. Primary concern should be the primary health centre and technical fetters cannot be introduced as subterfuges to cause hindrances in the establishment of health centre.” Para. 8.