MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sanjay Gangapurwalla and Rajesh Laddha at the Aurangabad seat last week said it is the fundamental right of the rural citizens to have access to basic medical facilities. The bench made the observation while hearing a PIL highlighting the dearth of basic medical facilities in rural Maharashtra and especially in Marathwada region.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Babanrao Lonikar highlighting the sorry state of affairs in the health department of the region.
It pointed out that the Rural Healthcare System has been in question due to non-availability of the basic facilities for treatment not only for the patients suffering from Covid-19, but also the medical facilities for the patients suffering from other illness.
"There is total dearth of the staff, X-ray machines, Sonography machines and labs," the plea stated, adding, "Some of the buildings of the primary health centres and sub centres are in such a deplorable state that it is not even fit for human habitation."
Apart from the non-availability of the necessary equipments and machines, there is an inadequate staff, Lonikar claimed in his plea.
"In many of the villages with the population of more than 2000, there is no public health centre and in some of the villages even sub-centres are not functioning," the judges noted from the petition.
To buttress his case, Lonikar also submitted some data and the relevant information, he received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Taking note of the same, the bench said, "The said information certainly would raise alarm for the health system. The state certainly is required to consider all these aspects. We expect the state to place on record the relevant statistics and the operation of the public health centres, sub centres and community health centres."
"The persons residing in the rural areas are also entitled for the basic medical facilities. The same would be their fundamental right," the judges held, adding, "In absence of the functioning of the health centres and sub-centres, the citizens residing in remote rural areas would be deprived of the medical facilities."
The bench while ordering the state authorities to file a detailed affidavit with regards to the contentions made in the PIL, said that the state must take up this issue on priority basis.
The next hearing would be in September.