Human Rights Law Network


Media Reports

Souls that roar for justice: The inimitable Amma Jaitun

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By Jameen Kaur

On Saturday 17 March 2017 a warrior for justice – Jaitun - commonly referred to as ‘Amma’, took her last breath and with the stillness of the night; like a rainbow that came to show her magnificence, her spirit passed on; as her body lay on a scrap of mud floor outside a shop front, which she paid Rupees 1,500 per month to rent.

Amma’s life is anything but unremarkable, and it was her perseverance for justice that went on to achieve a historic ground-breaking judgement where she held the Indian government accountable for the lack of delivery on a number of its legally binding obligations which include reproductive health care and on the right to food. We often take for granted the human rights we enjoy, forgetting or never hearing of the stories of countless individuals - especially those of women living in poverty, whose shoulders we stand on - who fought, who risked, who persevered against all the odds – even, as in Amma’s case, taking on the might of the Indian government, to challenge injustice. Such acts of courage either remain ignored or intentionally hidden from public conscience.

Among her many identities – a woman with a razor-sharp wit and humour and never-ending reserves of courage and passion, Amma was an illiterate Muslim woman who for the past twenty years together with her daughter Fatima lived homeless; near the tomb of one the world's most famous Sufi saints, Hazrat Nizamuddin. Minutes from attractions such as India Gate and Humayun’s Tomb. However, Amma had not always been homeless.  Prior to 1988 she owed a small room in a ‘jhuggi’ (building in a slum) in the same locality, but Delhi government’s re-development plans, demolished her home. As a homeless person she faced constant harassment and intimidation to leave the area, from Delhi police and local thugs, particularly during Delhi’s ‘clean–up’ operations leading up and during the hosting of Delhi’s Commonwealth Games.

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AIIMS-Patna under fire, HC calls for status details

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The Patna high court has asked the AIIMS–Patna administration and the Union health ministry to respond to a petition seeking round-the-clock emergency service, blood bank and other necessary infrastructure for treatment of patients at health facility.

A division bench of chief justice Rajendra Menon and justice Sudhir Singh sought the replies by the next date of hearing, which it fixed after two weeks.

Petitioner Devika Biswas had said that All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-Patna, which was established in 2012, needed to be fully equipped to render meaningful service to the people of Bihar and nearby states.

Petitioner’s counsel Vikas Kumar Pankaj said without emergency services and blood bank, the hospital at present was like a “body without a soul.” The court also clubbed petition with another, which too had pleaded for improvement in services of on AIIMS–Patna.

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Family planning deaths must not go unpunished

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Colin Gonsalves

Last week, the criminal trial of the surgeon who conducted laparoscopic tubectomies which resulted in the deaths of 13 women in Chhattisgarh was quashed by the Chhattisgarh High Court. After telling the Supreme Court in Devika Biswas’ case — a PIL filed by a social activist — that the prosecution would be conducted properly once the case ended, the State government assisted the doctor by refusing to grant sanction for prosecution. As a result, the prosecution was quashed.

On November 8, 2014, the surgeon and an assistant performed over 80 surgeries within 90 minutes at a State-run family planning camp, in an abandoned building near Bilaspur. Within 24 hours, many of the women began complaining of abdominal pain. Thirteen women died while 65 others were injured.

The State government responded petulantly to the Supreme Court’s decision of 2016 in Devika Biswas’ case — where the court had criticised governments for the manner in which sterilisation camps were run — by threatening to stop all such sterilisation operations in the rural areas. Women are now being forced to approach the prohibitively expensive private sector.

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Drug price regulation saved Rs 4,988cr in 2 yrs: Govt

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TNN | Jul 29, 2016 

Highlights

  • Various drug price regulatory measures by the government has helped consumers save Rs 4,988 crore over the last 2 years.
  • Government has capped prices of essential medicines at least three times since 2013.

NEW DELHI: Various drug price regulatory measures by the government helped consumers save Rs 4,988 crore over the last two years, Rajya Sabha was told on Thursday. Following approval of the pharmaceutical pricing policy in 2012, the government has capped prices of essential medicines at least three times since 2013, when the policy was first implemented by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority through the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.

According to chemicals and fertilizers minister Ananth Kumar, the drug price regulator NPPA had initially brought 530 essential medicines under price control, giving consumers a benefit of Rs 2,422 crore.

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SC Allows Rape Victim To Terminate 24-Week Pregnancy In Mumbai

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NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court on Monday allowed a petitioner, who is a rape victim, to medically terminate her 24 week pregnancy as the abnormalities in foetus have been confirmed by the report of the Medical Board.

The medical report says continuation with the pregnancy may gravely endanger the physical and the medical health of the petitioner. In the last hearing, the apex court constituted a Medical Board of doctors of the KEM Hospital Mumbai to examine the petitioner. The petitioner is a rape survivor and had sought the permission from the Supreme Court as under the present law, a foetus older than 20 weeks can't be aborted, unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

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HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.