The report in Hindustan Times of a destitute woman dying on the street in the heart of the Capital, ignored by passers by, days after having delivered a baby there (She gave birth, died. Delhi walked by, HT, August 29) prompted the Delhi High Court to issue a series of directions to the government to ensure such an incident does not recur.
No one cared to stop and help as Laxmi who delivered a child in the open and then lay dying in a pool of dirty rainwater at Shankar Market. The baby, which remained alive, has since been adopted.
A Bench directed the government to ensure five shelter homes in the city are earmarked for "exclusively" housing destitute pregnant women.
The court said a helpline should be set up and professionally trained personnel should be employed at the shelters. Also, free food and medical facilities should be available at these homes. The government was also directed to spread awareness that such shelters existed.
In his report, Colin Golsalves, amicus curiae in the case, said: "It is the duty of the State to ensure a citizen's enjoyment of rights to health, food and reproductive rights."