BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday indicated that it would issue directions that if a pregnant woman dies due to lack of medical care, including non-availability of doctors, at government hospitals in the state, her family members would be entitled to seek compensation from the state government.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur said directions would be issued next Tuesday. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), claiming that Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) was high in Karnataka due to lack of required medical care in the state.
The court’s indications came after seeing the response of the state government in relation to filling up of vacant posts of doctors, nurses and other staff in the government-run hospitals in state. The court also said the government cannot pat its own back, when the government advocate submitted that Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) had come down to 97 per 1 lakh live births from 108 per 1 lakh live births as per the latest report of the Union Government.
Referring to the same report, the court said there were nine states — including neighbouring states of Telangana, Maharashtra and even a small state like Jharkhand — which were in a better position than Karnataka.
Meanwhile, the government advocate informed the court that necessary amendments were being made to fill up the vacant posts in hospitals.
The court said the approach of the government on such an important issue was not appropriate as an amendment would take its own time.
The petitioner contended that Karnataka was spending only Rs 791 per capita, which is the least when compared to neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu (Rs 849), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,022) and Kerala (Rs. 1,070).
It also drew attention of the court that only 10.5 per cent of population of the state was covered by health insurance schemes, as per the national sample survey conducted in 2014.