The Supreme Court on Monday demanded a response from the Bihar government as well as the Centre in the wake of the alarming rate at which children are succumbing to Encephalitis in state.
The vacation bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna granted 7 days to the state and the Union of India to inform the court of the steps being taken to bring the situation under control.
'This is a serious concern. Deaths cannot keep happening. We need answers', the court observed.
The bench was hearing a PIL seeking a team of medical experts to be constituted urgently and for the provision of all necessary medical equipment and other supports.
The petition by advocates Manohar Pratap and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani contends that the death of more than 126 children (mostly of age group 1 to 10) in the past week in Bihar are a direct result of negligence and inaction on the part of the respective governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and the Union of India in handling the epidemical situation which arises every year due to outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
"Media reports shows that there is acute shortage of doctors, medical facilities, intensive care units and other medical equipment in the Hospitals in nearby areas and child are dying in hospitals due to lack of required facilities", it is averred.
"Right to Life is sacrosanct fundamental right guaranteed under the Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This Hon'ble Court in catena of judgments has accepted it as highest in all fundamental rights. The present act of the negligence by the Respondents who are 'State' within the framework of Indian Constitution has resulted in death of hundreds of young innocent lives. This continuing act of negligence on the part of state is consistently violating the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India", the petition reads.
The PIL also prays for 500 ICUs and 100 mobile ICUs to be immediately arranged, for an extraordinary government order directing all the private medical institutions in the affected area to admit and provide treatment free of cost to the patients to be notified, and for compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to be granted to the surviving members of the family of the deceased who have died due to the negligence of the state machinery.
Click here to download the order