The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard a wife’s plea seeking release of approximately Rs 1 crore from PM Cares and State CM Relief Funds as financial assistance for getting her husband a lung transplant after having exhausted her savings over his post-Covid treatment.
The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Nageshwar Rao and Justice Navin Sinha said, “We already told the petitioner that there is nothing much we can do about it. We just issued a notice to see if on Government’s end anything can be done.”
The Bench asked petitioners to serve a copy and listed the matter for hearing tomorrow.
Sheela Mehra, a wife, has moved Supreme Court seeking the release of approximately Rupees One crore from PM Cares and State CM Relief Funds as financial assistance to her stating that she has already exhausted her savings over her husband’s post-Covid treatment and now she needs help to get her husband a lung transplant without which he will lose his life.
Her writ petition reads that she has spent more than Rupees One Crore on medication of her husband and only turned for help after exhausting all monies available to her.
“The petitioner is in dire need of money for defraying daily medical expenses of her husband including the cost of lung transplant which is estimated to be around Rupees Fifty Five Lakh failing which she might lose her husband because of financial constraints” it adds.
It further states that the petitioner has already tried all other sources of help and also has reached to the State and Union Officials, who released a total of mere two and three Lakhs rupees respectively as financial help, which leaves her no other equally efficacious alternate remedy available but to seek relief from the Apex Court.
Stating that not providing necessary financial assistance to save the life of her husband is violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution and the same can be construed as inaction on part of the State providing adequate health care to the citizens, the petitioner has pleaded that no life should meet its end for the reason of financial constraints and State is duty-bound to extend help in appropriate case. “The PM Cares Fund is a national endeavour to provide relief to the persons in a distress situation. The disbursement out of the said fund has to be done on need basis and as per the Deed of trust which governs the fund,” the petition states.
Stating that her case is peculiar in light of the current pandemic and she has already paid a considerable amount required for her husband’s lung transplant, the petitioner has argued that
“Respondents being State within the ambit of article 12 of the Constitution of India and amenable to writ jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court may be directed to extend appropriate and reasonable financial help after analyzing the condition of the patient.”
Adding that she is entitled for relief on the basis of equity, justice and good conscience, therefore, she has legitimate expectations of help from the Government in a situation of financial distress for saving her husband’s life.
The petitioner and her husband, both working as software developers in an IT firm, got married in 2020. The husband was found Covid-19 infected in May, 2021 resulting in critical condition after a few days’ treatment. He is admitted till date and is continuously on a ventilator with ECMO support and needs an immediate lung transplant.
The ECMO treatment costs around Rupees Two Lakh per day and the estimated cost of transplant is around Rupees One Crore. The wife and other family members allege that they have already exhausted their savings as the treatment of her husband till date has cost more than rupees one crore.
The petitioner has alleged that she has physically visited the Prime Minister’s Office with an application seeking a grant from PM Cares fund and PMNRF, which resulted in the release of only rupees Three Lakh from PMO and Two lakh from CM office.