Govt Has Money For Statues, Not Public Health: Bombay High Court Lashes Out At Maha Govt
The Bombay High Court lashed out at the Maharashtra government for the delay in fund release for Wadia Hospitals for women and children and said that the government has money for statues but not for public health.
A bench, consisting Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice RI Chagla, was hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the release of funds to Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government.
The maternity hospital receives funds from the State government and the children's hospital receives it from the BMC.
Government counsel Girish Godbole told the court that the State finance department had sanctioned ₹24 crores from the contingency fund.
"The amount will be released lump sum to the Wadia Maternity Hospital within three weeks," he said.
The bench, however, asserted it was disappointed with this and that the funds should be released by Friday.
"The government wants to build Babasaheb Ambedkar's statue taller than the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue. For all this money is there, but those people whom Ambedkar represented all his life can die?" asked Justice Dharmadhikari.
"Do people require medical aid or statues to rid themselves of ailments and diseases?" the bench asked.
Public health has never been a priority for the government, the bench said, adding that the "Chief Minister is busy inaugurating bridges."
"We thought there are new faces at the political helm, then all these matters won't come to court. This does not auger well," said the court.
The court also claimed that in a city like Mumbai, which is the country's commercial capital, people from the poorest sections of the society are denied treatment at a charitable hospital.
"This is disgusting. How can people, mainly women and children, be refused admission to a hospital? Children are dying and the State machinery is not doing anything in States like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Should we have the same situation in Maharashtra?" said Justice Dharmadhikari.
The court said that due to insufficient funds, hospitals are struggling to treat their patients.
"These patients cannot afford private hospitals as they are mainly from the poor section of society. They require urgent medical attention. In such circumstances, the State government is obliging nobody by making statements that funds have been sanctioned," said the court.
After the Bombay High Court came down heavily on the state government, the BMC informed the bench that it will release ₹14 crores for Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children.
The court decided to hear the matter on Friday, when the government will have to inform, by when the sanctioned funds will be released.