Article 21 of the Indian Constitution declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
The Supreme Court on May 13 directed the Centre and the State governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide free rations without insisting on ID proof to all migrant workers and to run kitchens providing free meals twice a day.
However, this would have had more far reaching impact if this verdict had –
These shortcomings are evidence of ignorance towards the right to life seen especially in two cases-
1. Vaccine policy
Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is essential for defending one’s right to life; and since the state must respect everyone’s right to life, it must make the vaccine equally available to all irrespective of the recipient’s capacity to pay.
This can be accomplished only if vaccination is free as in USA,UK etc
It is not so in India. Population in the age group of 18-45 years is expected to be vaccinated at own expense or by respective states.
Moreover, the poor vaccination rate of the Indian population is a result of various shortcomings like- inadequate production, lagging in ordering, differential pricing for states, private clinics etc.
2. Loss of livelihood
There also has been callousness about the loss of livelihood that has come about during the second wave.
The plight of almost 90% of the workforce, involved in the informal sector has been ignored especially by the policymakers and media. There has been no legal or social protection, no compensation for lockdowns restrictions and economic distress for this hardest hit stratum of society.
Therefore the multiplier effects of this public expenditure would have been much higher.
The government needs to take up measures that prioritize the right to life which are right now complimentary to ensuring economic recovery as well.
Question- Discriminative vaccine policy and haphazardly planned lockdowns impinge directly on the Right to Life, especially of the downtrodden. Comment.
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