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Madras High Court disposes PIL pertaining to establishment of one stop centres in hospitals run by TN government

The Madras High Court disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed  pertaining to the establishment of One Stop Centres in various hospitals run by the Government  throughout the State of Tamil Nadu.

According to M.Aravindsubramaniam , Senior Counsel, the funds are received from the Central Government for establishment of One Stop Centres, but the Government has not taken the required steps.  

On the last date, the Court had asked the State Government Pleader to place on record the present status. On February 21 , a status report is filed by the fourth respondent (Secretary to Government , Social Welfare Department).

As per the status report, the Government of India approved 38 One Stop Centres, i.e., one centre per district, including one additional centre for Chennai. Out of this, new buildings have been constructed for 30 centres. The same are enumerated in the status report.  

The status report further states that the first installment fund has been received for the construction of One Stop Centre at Tenkasi and the construction work has crossed lintel level. For the districts of Tiruchirappalli, Pudukottai, Kallakurichi, Ranipet and Tiruppathur, the the first installment fund has been received for the construction of One Stop Centre at the rate of Rs.60 lakh per centre. The Public Works Department has stated that the said amount is insufficient to construct the centres for the year 2023- 2024 and a request has been made to sanction additional funds at   the rate of Rs.86.50 lakh per centre. The land identification is under process for the construction of One Stop Centres functioning in the government hospital buildings at Chengalpet and Kancheepuram.

Paragraphs 9 to 11 of the status report read thus: 

“9. It is respectfully submitted that Government of India have approved additional One Stop Centres in the Corporations of Avadi (Thiruvallur), Coimbatore, Dindigal, Tirunelveli, Tiruppur, Tirichirappalli and one in newly created district of Mayiladuthurai in 2023- 2024 which are also functioning in Government Hospital buildings. 

10. It is respectfully submitted that the total strength sanctioned for the functional One Stop Centres is 494. Of which 408 posts were filled up. Since these posts are on contractual basis, attrition is quite high. As and when vacancies arises, the District Collectors are taking action to fill up vacant posts. 

11. It is respectfully submitted that so far, 63,285 cases were registered in One Stop Centres of the State till January 2024. Various services such as Medical Assistance, Police Assistance, Legal Support, Psycho Social Counseling, Short stay shelter and information related to Government Schemes are provided to the needy women.”

The Division Bench of  Chief Justice Sanjay V. Gangapurwala and  Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy noted that the One Stop Centres at some of the places have started functioning. 63285 cases were registered in the One Stop Centres till January, 2024. The government shall take steps to fill up the vacancies, if any, in the said One Stop Centres on priority basis.   

The remaining eight One Stop Centres shall be constructed expeditiously, The departments concerned shall coordinate and take earnest efforts to establish the One Stop Centres at the remaining places and we expect that all the 38 One Stop Centres would start functioning within six to eight months , the Court directed.

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