A couple in Agra has accused a hospital of asking them to pay their medical bills by selling their baby.
Babita delivered a baby boy and the C-section procedure cost ₹30,000. Besides this, she needed to buy medicines worth ₹5,000. Babita, 36, and her husband Shiv Charan, 45, a rickshaw puller, could not afford to pay the amount.
"This is a serious matter. It will be investigated and suitable action taken against those found guilty," district magistrate Prabhu N Singh said.
Municipal ward councillor Hari Mohan said he was "aware that the couple had to sell their child for not being able to pay hospital bills." He added that Shiv Charav was going through a financial crisis, reported The Times Of India.
Dismissing the allegations, the hospital said that the baby had not been "bought" but "given up" by the couple for adoption.
"These claims are wrong. We didn't force him to give up his child. He did so of his own accord. I have a copy of the written agreement signed by the parents, expressing his willingness," said Seema Gupta, manager of JP Hospital in the Trans-Yamuna locality.
Shiv alleged that when Babita was pregnant, no Asha worker came and no one helped them figure out where they could get free treatment. "We are not covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme either," Shiv said.
He said that the hospital told them Babita needed a Caesarean section.
"My wife and I can't read or write. We gave thumb impressions on all documents, as the hospital asked. I didn't get discharge papers, bills or any other papers," Shiv said. They consequently parted with the baby for ₹ 1 lakh.
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