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The Bombay High Court on Friday while disposing of a PIL expressed hope that the State Government and authorities will ensure that the pregnant women will be well attended even in the challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Bombay High Court alleging on basis of a media report that an expecting lady was refused admission at J.J. Hospital, Mumbai on the ground that she did not carried with her a COVID-19 negative report and also that such lady was subsequently denied admission in Dholkawala Hospital, thereafter she was attended to by an old lady who helped her in delivering the child.

The PIL sought directions to the State Government to issue appropriate circular and/or rules and/or regulations binding the hospitals which shall regulate the admission of persons seeking admission in hospitals during the current pandemic COVID-19 and also to admit the patients going through emergent medical situation which cannot wait beyond receipt of Covid medical report.

The Municipal Corporation in its reply said that there have been 3905 deliveries in March, 4169 deliveries in April and about 2412 deliveries till the date of affirmation of the affidavit, of which about 359 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Such COVID-19 positive patients have been treated in special facilities.

The Corporation also said that the revised guidelines have been issued on May 12, 2020 for testing of even asymptomatic patients who are expected to deliver in the next five days and should any of such expecting ladies test positive for COVID-19, it has been assured that all arrangements would be made to arrange for smooth delivery in other facilities available with the Corporation.

Acting upon the plea, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta & Justice S. S. Shinde, observed that the Corporation and the State have lived up to the expectations of the people in general and the expecting ladies in particular. The number of deliveries performed during the past three months provides reason to hold that the contentions of State Government and Municipal Corporation are sound and that there has not been any reported incident of negligence does not call for judicial intervention on this PIL petition.

The bench while disposing off the PIL expressed hope and trust that the State and Corporation shall continue in its efforts to ensure that 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 new born child does not face difficulties till such time normalcy is restored.

-India Legal Bureau

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