The LexGaze Weekly - HOPE

Telemedicine - A blessing in disguise?

Yamika Khanna

Issue 10 | August 23, 2020

Amid the outbreak of the deadly virus across the globe, the world has seen rapid emergence and development of the remote medical system- where the patients began contacting medical professionals without physically getting checked. This system of medical advancement known as telemedicine not only helped in containing the spread of the virus but also played a crucial role in the utilization of the prevailing healthcare infrastructure in the country.

India's first stunt with telemedicine dates back to 2001 when ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) launched the Telemedicine Pilot Project, linking Chennai's Apollo Hospital with the Apollo Rural Hospital at Aragonda village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. In India, the telemedicine service comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Information Technology.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India on March 25 issued Telemedicine Practice Guidelines, 2020 which were prepared in partnership with ‘NITI Aayog’, to regulate the growing the telemedicine sector while also increasing its accessibility. The guidelines provide directives to the medical professionals to work in consonance with the already existing legal framework. Telemedicine companies are required to comply with various laws, such as – The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002; The Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules; The IT Act; The Indian Medical Council Act, and also have to abide by the provisions related to Data Protection and Privacy Laws.

With regulations in place, both the state as well as private medical practitioners view the telemedicine industry as a boon. And the reasons are solid, it strategically helps them in providing medical assistance remotely and recognizes the people needing physical medical assistance. This has helped them in curbing the huge number of patients from admitting in hospitals- which might have become a major hurdle for the medial industry, especially, during the pandemic.

Hope Plus

1. The Calcutta High Court on August 17, 2020, appointed a Committee to call for the accounts of the income and expenditure of schools to get an idea as to what the normal income and expenditure ought to be and what it has been after the lockdown started. It was done to ascertain the costs involved and the extent of relief that can be passed on to students and their parents, by providing fee concessions.

2. The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the State/Central government and the Reserve Bank of India, followed by a Public Interest Litigation, seeking an extension of the benefit of the moratorium scheme on education loans to all categories of students, given the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. The Karnataka High Court has directed the Karnataka state government to issue guidelines for proper disposal of the used PPE kits and accessories, used by the people dealing with Covid-19 patients.

4. The Madras High Court asserted that adoption does not sever the relationship of the minor with her biological father. The only exception being, when the biological father himself renounces his right as father of the minor and consents on behalf of the child to be taken in adoption by the adoptive father.

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