The Bombay High Court on Wednesday took suo motu (on its own) cognizance of the deaths at the state government-run hospitals at Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and sought details from the Maharashtra government.
A division bench of Chief Justice D K Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor asked Advocate General Birendra Saraf, appearing for the state government, to submit to the bench details about the state’s budgetary allocation for health on Thursday. Earlier in the day, an advocate, Mohit Khanna, had submitted a letter to the bench requesting it to take suo motu cognizance of the deaths.
The bench initially directed Khanna to file a petition and said it wanted to issue effective orders. It also asked the advocate to gather data regarding vacancies in hospitals, the availability of medicine, the percentage (of funds) the government is spending and so on.
However, in the afternoon session, the bench said it was taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, noting that reasons given by the doctors at the hospitals citing shortages of beds, staff, and essential medicines cannot be accepted. The HC said it would hear the matter on Thursday.
Khanna stated in his letter that 31 deaths, including those of infants, were recorded at the Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College and Hospital in Nanded in 48 hours since September 30.
The letter also mentioned that the deaths of 18 patients, including infants, were recorded between October 2 and 3 at the Government Medical College and Hospital at Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar.