High Court to Maha: Find out vacancies in government-run hospitals

The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to conduct a survey to determine the number of vacancies for doctors and other medical staff across all government and civic-run hospitals.

In an order passed last week, a bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni asked the state to conduct, on a priority basis, a special recruitment drive to fill up these vacancies.

It also directed the Maharashtra Public ServiceCommission (MPSC) to expedite the approval of all pending proposals for the appointment of senior doctors and head of departments, among other posts, in such hospitals.

The bench gave the directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a resident of Malegaon town in Nashik district.

The PIL alleged inaction on part of the Maharashtra public health department and the local civic body on filling vacancies for doctors and assistant medical staff at the Malegaon civic hospital for years.

The petitioner, Rakesh Bhamare, cited replies to his RTI queries to inform the court that the authorities had failed to sanction and fill such vacancies since 2012.

On a previous hearing in April, the bench had said it was the government’s duty to provide necessary infrastructure, medical staff, and funds for civic-run hospitals.

At the time, it had also directed the Maharashtra government to file a reply on the steps taken to implement the court’s previous orders on the issue.

During the hearing last week, the state filed its reply, informing the court it had already recommended filling up of some vacancies at the hospitals and that the same was pending before the MPSC.

The bench, however, directed the state to conduct a survey to assess the exact requirements of staff at all government and civic-run hospitals.

“The state will conduct a detailed survey, on a priority basis, in respect of vacancies for doctors, medical officers, and other staff at all government hospitals, and the hospitals attached to civic corporations.

“A recruitment drive must then be undertaken at the earliest to fill up such vacancies,” the Judges said.

The petitioner had also sought that contempt proceedings be initiated against officials concerned for failing to comply with the court’s order not just on the vacancies, but also with regard to a 2016 HC ruling directing the state to constitute a special committee to inspect and review the condition of municipal hospitals.

Such a committee was to meet every two months and take stock. By the states own admission in court, the committee had met only three times since its constitution in October 2016.

The bench directed the officials concerned to file their replies by June 15 to the prayer for initiating contempt proceedings.

High Court tells Maha govt: List steps taken to tackle malnutrition

The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to list down the steps taken by it to implement previous orders of the court on tackling malnutrition in the state.

A bench of justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni earlier this week gave the directions while taking note of the information given by petitioners that over 300 children in the tribal areas across Maharashtra had died between September, 2017 and January, 2018 due to malnutrition and related causes.

The court also directed the state to file a status report on the medical facilities, including primary health care centres, and the number of doctors present in tribal areas like Melghat and Nandurbar.

Directing the government to take immediate steps to provide necessary medical aid to the residents, especially the children in such areas, the bench also directed its counsel to take instructions on how the funds allocated by the state and the Centre for tribal welfare were being used.

It also sought details of the packaged food and raw food grains that the state claimed to be providing for residents and children in these areas.

The court was hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting a rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas in Maharashtra.

Different benches of the Bombay High Court had passed several orders on the issue over the last two years, directing the government to ensure that people in the tribal areas get adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation and education facilities.

During the last hearing, the petitioners – some activists and NGOs – working in the tribal areas informed the bench that 318 children had died due to malnutrition and lack of medical care between September, 2017 and January, 2018 in Melghat and its neighbouring areas.

The government claimed before the court that the situation in these areas had “improved considerably” and that it was taking all possible remedial measures.

The bench, however, took note of the petitioners’ arguments that despite previous orders of the court, tribal areas in the state continued to grapple with inadequate medical facilities.

“318 children from Melghat and its nearby areas succumbed to various diseases and ailments, and for want of proper medical care and aid. The learned Assistant Government Pleader submits that the situation has considerably improved and the state is monitoring and providing necessary backup services to these areas,” the bench said.

“However, the petitioners inform that the tribal areas around Melghat and Nandurbar continue to face apathy and are still deprived of proper medical care and necessary infrastructure facilities,” it added.

“A status report be placed on record. And in the meanwhile, the state shall take immediate steps to provide necessary medical aid to the residents of the subject areas.

It must also focus its attention on the children,” the bench said.

It directed the state to organise medical camps, appoint doctors at least on contract basis, and arrange for vehicles to ensure that doctors and assistant medical staff reach these areas whenever necessary.

In October last year, a bench led by then chief justice of Bombay HC Manjula Chellur had rapped the state government over its failure to provide adequate nutrition and medical aid for the tribal children.

The bench had also passed a detailed order directing the state to inform the court of how the funds received for tribal areas were being utilised.

High Court tells Maha govt: List steps taken to tackle malnutrition

The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to list down the steps taken by it to implement previous orders of the court on tackling malnutrition in the state.

A bench of justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni earlier this week gave the directions while taking note of the information given by petitioners that over 300 children in the tribal areas across Maharashtra had died between September, 2017 and January, 2018 due to malnutrition and related causes.

The court also directed the state to file a status report on the medical facilities, including primary health care centres, and the number of doctors present in tribal areas like Melghat and Nandurbar.

Directing the government to take immediate steps to provide necessary medical aid to the residents, especially the children in such areas, the bench also directed its counsel to take instructions on how the funds allocated by the state and the Centre for tribal welfare were being used.

It also sought details of the packaged food and raw food grains that the state claimed to be providing for residents and children in these areas.

The court was hearing a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting a rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas in Maharashtra.

Different benches of the Bombay High Court had passed several orders on the issue over the last two years, directing the government to ensure that people in the tribal areas get adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation and education facilities.

During the last hearing, the petitioners – some activists and NGOs – working in the tribal areas informed the bench that 318 children had died due to malnutrition and lack of medical care between September, 2017 and January, 2018 in Melghat and its neighbouring areas.

The government claimed before the court that the situation in these areas had “improved considerably” and that it was taking all possible remedial measures.

The bench, however, took note of the petitioners’ arguments that despite previous orders of the court, tribal areas in the state continued to grapple with inadequate medical facilities.

“318 children from Melghat and its nearby areas succumbed to various diseases and ailments, and for want of proper medical care and aid. The learned Assistant Government Pleader submits that the situation has considerably improved and the state is monitoring and providing necessary backup services to these areas,” the bench said.

“However, the petitioners inform that the tribal areas around Melghat and Nandurbar continue to face apathy and are still deprived of proper medical care and necessary infrastructure facilities,” it added.

“A status report be placed on record. And in the meanwhile, the state shall take immediate steps to provide necessary medical aid to the residents of the subject areas.

It must also focus its attention on the children,” the bench said.

It directed the state to organise medical camps, appoint doctors at least on contract basis, and arrange for vehicles to ensure that doctors and assistant medical staff reach these areas whenever necessary.

In October last year, a bench led by then chief justice of Bombay HC Manjula Chellur had rapped the state government over its failure to provide adequate nutrition and medical aid for the tribal children.

The bench had also passed a detailed order directing the state to inform the court of how the funds received for tribal areas were being utilised.