The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to conduct an inquiry into the recovery of 19 aborted foetuses in Sangli district recently.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur while hearing a PIL ordered the state government’s public health department to hold an inquiry.
It also asked the state government to submit a report.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Atul Bhosale, a Pune resident, alleging that nursing homes in the city were not registered and that fake degrees were obtained by medical practioners.
However, during the hearing of the petition, the High Court extended the scope of the PIL to cover entire Maharashtra.
The bench took cognizance of media reports about 19 aborted foetuses having been found near a stream recently at a village in Maharashtra’s Sangli district and asked the state government why it has not enacted a law to regulate nursing homes.
The court also asked the Maharashtra government to conduct random checks at nursing homes and find out how many of those had obtained permission to operate.
In the Sangli case, a 26-year-old woman from Mhaisal village died following an abortion allegedly performed by a homeopath at his hospital. The bench said given the seriousness of the matter, the government should act immediately.
The state government filed an affidavit, saying the Centre had enacted the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, which was adopted by Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the Union territories. Such a law was, however, yet to be enacted in Maharashtra.
The affidavit said the draft Maharashtra Clinical Establishment Act, 2014, was awaiting the state cabinet’s approval. The proposed law would regulate private hospitals and nursing homes.
The bench voiced displeasure over the delay by the Maharashtra government in enacting such a law.