Court finds Maharashtra State under reported child deaths

Bombay High Court: In a number of PILs filed before the Court in relation to various schemes of the government, the Bench of V.M.Kanade and Swapna Joshi, JJ. found that the statistical data regarding child deaths and malnutrition submitted to the Court by the State was contrary to the actual scenario. The State had contended that the number of child deaths decreased substantially in the last five years due to the routine immunization programme and various Malnutrition Eradication schemes of the government, also, they submitted that Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) had been established at various places in the State.

However, relying on newspaper reports and other data submitted by the petitioner, the Court observed that the actual deaths in the last year were between 58,000 to 75,000 while the State reported only 18,000 deaths. The Court also found that the food ration provided to the tribal children was far less nutritional than claimed and directed the State to appoint some experts in the field to advise on the same. The Court further directed the State to prepare an action plan with earmarking of funds for these schemes, provide the current position and the steps to be taken to eradicate these problems.

Furthermore, the State was directed to submit a report with reference to the cases of sexual assault or rape on women, children and infants in government shelter homes where the Sessions Courts have acquitted the accused and the State did not prefer an appeal, stating the reason for the same. [Dr. Ranjendra Sadanand Burma v. State of Maharashtra, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 9126, decided on 14-10-2016]

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