Sorry State of Affairs- Chhattisgarh HC Takes Suo Motu Cognizance of Woman Delivering Baby on Health Centre Floor

In a significant development, the High Court of Chhattisgarh, Bilaspur, took suo moto cognizance of a distressing incident reported in the Times of India, Raipur Edition, dated June 10, 2024. The report highlighted a case where a 25-year-old pregnant woman was forced to deliver her baby on the floor of the Navanagar Sub Health Centre in Surguja District (Ambikapur) on June 8, 2024, due to the absence of any medical staff.

Legal Issues:

The primary legal issue revolves around the gross negligence and dereliction of duty by the medical staff at the Sub Health Centre, which led to a severe lapse in providing essential medical care to a pregnant woman in labor. The court examined the responsibilities of the state and health department officials in ensuring the availability of medical personnel and the adequacy of healthcare facilities in remote areas.

Court’s Decision:

The court, presided over by Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Sachin Singh Rajput, expressed deep concern over the incident, describing it as a “very sorry state of affair.” The court noted that despite significant government expenditure on healthcare, the absence of medical staff at critical times was unacceptable.

Key Observations:

– The court highlighted the repeated nature of such incidents at the Navanagar Sub Health Centre, indicating systemic issues.

– The court ordered the immediate suspension of the concerned Medical Officer and initiated an inquiry into the incident.

– The court directed the Secretary, Health and Social Welfare Department, to file a personal affidavit detailing the steps taken in response to the incident and to ensure the cessation of the viral video circulation related to the incident.

Quote from the Judgment:

“It is a very sorry state of affair if the aforesaid is the situation prevailing at Sub Health Centre, Navanagar, Ambikapur. When the State Government is incurring a huge amount of money for providing medical facilities to the public at large residing in the remotest part of the State, and the authorities and the staff who are responsible to manage the affairs of the Health Centres are themselves are absent and missing when they are needed the most, the State ought to take some stringent measures.”

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Next Steps:

The case is scheduled for further hearing on June 14, 2024, where the court expects a detailed report from the Secretary, Health and Social Welfare Department, on the measures taken to address the issue and prevent future occurrences.

Case Details:

– Case Number: WPPIL No. 38 of 2024

– Petitioner: Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation

– Respondents:

  1. State of Chhattisgarh through Chief Secretary

  2. Secretary, Health and Social Welfare Department

  3. Director, Health Services

  4. Collector, Surguja at Ambikapur

  5. Chief Medical and Health Officer, District Hospital Ambikapur

  6. Civil Surgeon, District Hospital, Surguja at Ambikapur

  7. Medical Officer, Sub Health Center, Navanagar

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