Patna High Court ‘Not Satisfied’ with Bihar Government, Orders Quarterly Progress Reports on the NRHM implementation and Conditions of Public Health Care Facilities
PATNA- In the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) supported Public Interest Litigation (PIL) Centre for Health and Resource Management (CHARM) v. Union of India and Others (CWJC-10724/2011),the High Court of Patna has ordered the Bihar State Government to account for its failure to protect pregnant women’s lives.
The 2011 PIL is spearheaded by CHARM through its executive director, Dr. Shakeelue Rahman, as a part of HRLN’s strategy to use litigation to address India’s high maternal mortality and morbidity rates.
At 300 deaths for every 1 lakh births, Bihar has one of the highest Maternal Mortality Rates (MMR) in India. Despite the significant financial resources the Centre has provided the State of Bihar, the MMR is the fourth-highest in India and one of the highest in the world. These maternal deaths are preventable and unacceptable. The Court found that the state government’s misappropriation of funds was a key factor in the stagnant MMR.
On 20 March 2012 the Court ordered the Health Secretary to account for every single Rupee released by the Central Government under NRHM to combat maternal mortality in the state. The State’s response failed to persuade the Hon’ble High Court Justices.
On 25 June 2012 Hon’ble High Court Justices SMT. T. Meena Kumari and Chakradhari Sharan Singh stated that they were not satisfied with the content of the state’s affidavit and ordered the state to report its progress on a quarterly basis.
This order once again reaffirms the state’s obligation to protect, respect, and ensure the health of its pregnant citizens through the successful implementation of NHRM.
The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a collective of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the use of the legal system to advance human rights in India and the sub-continent. To learn more visit hrln.org.
Director, Reproductive Rights Unit
Human Rights Law Network
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