National Seminar on Right to Health: Law and Ethics


Hon’ble (Mr.) Justice J. Chelameswar, Judge, Supreme Court of India delivering the inauguration address. Also seen are (L to R) Dr. K.V. Somasundaram, SRU; Prof (Dr.) S. Sivkumar , President, CLEA (Asia-India); Justice (Dr.) B.S. Chauhan, former Judge; Supreme Court of India; Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sathish Agnihotri Judge, High Court of  Madras and Dr. N.S. Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, SRU.

The Commonwealth Legal Education Association (Asia-India) organized a National Seminar on “Right to Health: Law and Ethics” in collaboration with Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai on 7th February, 2015 in Harvard University, Sri  Ramachandra University, Chennai.

Prof (Dr.) S. Sivkumar , President, CLEA (Asia-India) in his introductory address said that accessibility of right to health is denied to the poor  and the state is not giving regionalized approach to right to health.  He observed that the 2015 Draft National Health Policy does not give importance to decentralization and it reveals gaps and lacunae in health sector. There is a need to strengthen existing infrastructure for health care. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sathish Agnihotri, Judge, High Court of Judicature, Madras stressed that doctors must take up the responsibility of taking care of the needs of the poor- irrespective of the caste and other aspects. He said that every citizen of a country has right to medical facility and we need to strengthen privacy rules. Hon’ble Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan, former Supreme Court of India observed thus: “The government quality of treating the poorer sections of society is minimal. Preventive measures on treatment to health must be strengthened.  Delhi City alone has 40,000 doctors; only one doctor for every 2000 patients. The government dispensaries open only in working hours.  When patients go to hospital they cannot get immediately treated they can only get a date.  Some doctors are incompetent. Some doctors in order to get commission send tests to private labs. Providing health care to large population should be a priority.” Hon’ble Mr. Justice J. Chelameswar, Judge, Supreme Court of India and the former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court pointed out that the legal and medical professions together could be called as the liberal professions. His lordship pointed out that there is a need to improve the availability of medicines. His Lordship requested the gathering to come out with concrete suggestions. Dr. N.S. Murthy, The Vice-Chancellor, Sri Ramachandra University welcomed the gathering and Dr. K.V. Somasundaram, Dean of Faculties proposed the vote of thanks.

The Technical Session I on the theme “Right to Health: Constitutional and Human Rights Aspects” was chaired by Hon’ble Mr. Justice B. Rajendran Judge Madras High Court. Shri R. Venkatramani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court  of India & Member of the Law Commission of India;  Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, I.A.S, Secretary to Government, Department of Health & Family Welfare; Prof. J. Damodharan, Professor  and Head , Department of Medicine  and Prof: Dr. David Ambrose Professor & Head, Department of Legal Studies, Madras University spoke on the topics ‘Right to health as a constitutional right’ , ‘Right to health- Agenda for the New Millennium’,  ‘Right to Health – Issues and Challenges’ and  ‘Right to Health- Human Rights Perspective’ respectively.

Technical Session II on the theme “Right to Health : Patent and Ethical Issues” witnessed presentations by Dr.C. V. Bhirmanandam, Vice- President, Medical Council of India; Dr. Lisa P. Lukose, CLEA (Asia – India) Executive Member and Associate Professor, IP University, New Delhi and Mr. R. Desikan, Founder Trustee, Consumer Association of India on the topics ‘Upholding Ethical Values- Role of Medical Council of India’, ‘ Access to Medicines and Impact of Patents’ and ‘Patient as a consumer’.

During the valedictory session, Dr. N.S.N. Murthy the Vice Chancellor, Sri Ramachandra University delivered the welcome address. Prof. (Dr. )S. Sivakumar, President, CLEA (Asia-India) presented the proceedings of the programe  and highlighted that both technical sessions served the purpose of organizing this national seminar.             The way forward outlook given by Hon’ble  (Mr.) Justice Dr .P. Jyothimani, The Judicial Member, National Green Tribunal, who was also the former Judge , High Court of Madras.) emphasized the issues of right to equality in access to health care service , problems with patenting of life saving medicines etc. The valedictory address presented by Hon’ble Mr. Justice D. Murugesan, the member National Human Rights Commission ,the former Chief Justice, High Court of Delhi compared treatment facilities regarding child birth issues in United States of America and in India. He had emphasized that in India the treatment process is much simpler when compared to United states of America where prior appointments must be fixed before many months which is not patient friendly. Mr. K.V. Somasundaram, Dean of Faculties, Sri Ramachandra University delivered the vote of thanks. The seminar was a great success wherein more than 500 lawyers, teachers, law and medical students, legal and medical officers and doctors participated. Everybody appreciated the organizational skill and hard work of Prof. S. Sivkumar which rendered the seminar a grand success.

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