The horrific tale of child prostitution wherein Shubha (name changed), a minor girl, was subjected to physical abuse and was forced to undergo tubectomy has brought the role of the health department and the police under the scanner.
The senior medical officer (SMO), meanwhile, has ordered an inquiry into the alleged lapse on the part of the hospital. Police have also formed a special team to inquire into the matter.
The contradiction in the age recorded in the hospital register and the radiology department's report points towards the role of the hospital staff involved in the pre-operative and operative procedure.
The girl was operated upon on January 5 on the pretext of her being a "27-year-old woman", but on January 11, the hospital's radiology department assessed the girl to be between 14 and 16 years of age.
The incident raises a question mark on the role of the hospital staff, including SMO Dr Karamvir Goel, Dr Kamaljit, in-charge of family planning cases at the civil hospital, and Dr Mili Markan, who operated upon the patient.
When contacted, SMO Dr Goel said auxiliary nursing midwife Harjit Kaur working at Guru Nanakpura dispensary had brought the girl in her capacity as a motivator (a person who motivates the patient and family to undergo tubectomy or vasectomy).
"There was no reason for the hospital staff to doubt the department employee, hence the operation was performed. I have ordered an inquiry," said Dr Goel.
On the other hand, Dr Kamaljit, when asked about the verification procedure mandatory before performing the tubectomy, said, "Consent of the patient, her request for tubectomy, verification of personal details followed by pathology tests and complete medical examination are a must before the operation."
Ironically, none of the above verifications were carried out in Shubha's case.
Similarly, the police department, despite having the details of the case, failed to act till the report was published in Hindustan Times on Sunday. Davinder Chaudhary, inspector at Model Town police station, said there was no complaint, adding that a member of the child welfare committee functioning under the Integrated Child Development Services had approached him asking for help to get the medical examination of the girl done as the civil hospital authorities had refused to examine her.
The statements of the child welfare committee member and the victim were not enough for the police to pursue the matter as there was "no complaint".
However, police commissioner Ishwar Singh said a special investigation team had been constituted under additional deputy commissioners of police Nilambari Jagdale and Bhupinder Singh. "We will bring all culprits to book," said the police commissioner.