The Bombay High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of the deaths occurring in government-run hospitals in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar districts and has requested the Maharashtra government to provide details on the matter.
The bench, consisting of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, directed Advocate General Birendra Saraf, representing the state government, to submit information regarding the state’s health budget allocation on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, advocate Mohit Khanna had submitted a letter to the bench, urging it to take suo motu cognizance of the deaths. However, the bench initially instructed Khanna to file a separate petition, as it aimed to issue effective orders and requested the advocate to collect data regarding hospital staff vacancies, medicine availability, and government expenditure.
Bombay High Court takes suo motu cognizance of the issue
During the afternoon session, the bench decided to take suo motu cognizance of the issue, expressing skepticism about the reasons provided by hospital doctors, who cited shortages of beds, staff, and essential medicines as the cause of the deaths.
In his letter, Khanna claimed that 31 deaths, including those of infants, had been reported at the Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded in central Maharashtra within 48 hours since September 30. The letter also mentioned that at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, 18 deaths, including infants, occurred between October 2 and 3. The bench scheduled further hearings for Thursday.
The tragic occurrence of 41 deaths in just two days in two government hospitals in Maharashtra’s Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar districts prompted strong criticism from the opposition, who labeled it as “murders” and demanded criminal action against those responsible.
In response to the opposition’s outcry, the Eknath Shinde government dispatched ministers Girish Mahajan and Hasan Mushrif to Nanded to assess the situation. A panel has been established to investigate the 31 deaths recorded in barely 36 hours at the Dr. Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College & Hospital.
Furthermore, another source of embarrassment for the ruling alliance emerged on Tuesday with reports of at least 10 additional deaths, including two infants, at the Government Hospital in Ghati, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly Aurangabad), prompting renewed criticism from the opposition.