HC expresses satisfaction on Maha, BMC help to pregnant women

Mumbai, May 22 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Friday expressed its satisfaction with the manner in which the Maharashtra government and BMC were providing assistance to pregnant women at the time of delivery, but suggested the civic body set up an exclusive helpline number for such women.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S S Shinde disposed of a petition filed by city resident Mohiuddin Vaid raising concerns over an incident where a pregnant lady was denied admission for delivery at state-run J J Hospital on the ground that she did not have a COVID-19 negative report.

Vaid, in the petition, sought directions to be issued to the government and civic bodies to put in place appropriate measures for pregnant ladies.

The state government, in its affidavit, said there has been no slip on its part to attend to expecting ladies during these troubled times.

The BMC, in its affidavit, told the court there have been 3,905 deliveries in March, 4,169 in April and 2,412 in May so far, of which 359 ladies tested positive for novel coronavirus.

The civic body said COVID-19 patients were treated in special facilities.

'As per revised guidelines issued on May 12 for testing of even asymptomatic patients who are expected to deliver in the next five days, and should any such expecting ladies test positive for COVID-19, then all arrangements would be made for smooth delivery in other facilities available with the Corporation,' the affidavit said.

It further said if people face difficulty, then they can call on the civic body's helpline number 1916.

'Based on the facts and figures submitted, we record our satisfaction that the corporation and state have lived up to the expectations of the people in general and expecting ladies in particular,' the court said.

It added that since there has not been any reported incident of negligence on the part of any civic-run or state- run hospital, no judicial intervention was required.

The court, however, said the corporation may explore the possibility of providing an exclusive helpline for expecting ladies in future.

'We, therefore, dispose of this petition expressing hope and trust that the state and corporation shall continue in its efforts to ensure expecting ladies are well attended to even in these testing times and that maximum care is taken so that not only the mother but the newborn child does not face difficulties till such time normalcy is restored,' the bench said. PTI SP BNM BNM