Hearing a PIL following a report in Hindustan Times about a pregnant woman dying on street after childbirth, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi government for not coming up with shelter homes exclusively for destitute pregnant women.
The court also directed the state government to coordinate with the ministry of woman and child development on the issue and earmark at least two dedicated shelter homes for such women complete with medical facilities.
HT had reported on August 29, 2010 how a destitute woman Laxmi lay in a pool of dirty water for days with dogs lurking nearby and flies swarming the new-born baby. Thousands walked past before and after she gave birth to a girl on July 26 and finally died a week later at Shankar Market near Connaught Place.
Laxmi’s poignant tale prompted the court and it had on October 20 issued a series of directions to the Delhi government to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
However, when the government failed to implement the same and instead came up with its own suggestion in the affidavit, a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra observed, “It does not require Solomon’s wisdom to say that the affidavit nowhere really focuses on the problem that has crept up.”
“We cannot become the silent spectators waiting for the government to move like a tortoise and allow the destitute pregnant women to die on the streets of Delhi, may be after giving birth to a child or may be along with the child,” the bench said.
The court also asked the joint secretary of ministry of woman and child development to coordinate with Delhi state to sort out the problem.
The court had appointed Colin Gonsalves as amicus curiae in the case. Gonsalves had filed a report following Delhi government’s affidavit wherein he had observed that the existing shelter homes were neither funded by the government nor were earmarked to take care of destitute pregnant women.