Sikkim Government to Build More Toilets in Gynecology Wards as first phase towards providing better facilities: National Rural Health Mission in Sikkim Comes under scanner of Sikkim High Court
Implementation of National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) in the State of Sikkim has come under the scanner of Sikkim High Court after a public interest petition titled “Rinzing Chewang Kazi Versus State of Sikkim & Ors.” Writ Petition (PIL) 39 of 2012 was filed in year 2012 highlighting state’s abysmal performance on NHRM.
NHRM is a flagship scheme sponsored by the Government of India since 2005 aiming on prevention of maternal as well as infant mortality in rural areas. When this PIL was filed highlighting Sikkim’s poor performance on ensuring even the most basic needs of pregnant women, availability of life saving drugs and women/ Children’s access to basic health facilities, Sikkim High Court had on 24.08.2012 directed State Government to file a report on steps taken to implement NHRM.
Advocate Dr. Doma T. Bhutia appearing for petitioner filed a fact finding report showcasing the abysmal performance of State and proved before the Court that gynecology wards in the Hospitals were neglected to the extent that there were no separate toilets for men and women and for patients and visitors in the Hospital. Report cited the condition of one such hospital in capital city of Gangtok which serves as a tertiary care centre for women.
The order dated 23.09.2013 reads, “ As per the affidavit termed as “Brief Fact Finding Report’ filed by the Petitioner, it has inter alia been pointed out that the condition of Gynaecology Department of the S.T.N.M. Hospital at Gangtok is such that the patients of the ward are facing great hardship primarily on account of want of sufficient number of toilets. It is stated that as there are no bathrooms, the toilets are also being used for washing clothes, utensils, etc. It is further pointed out that there being only one toilet on each floor of the building housing the Gynaecology wards, visitors and outsiders are also sharing the very same toilets causing serious health hazards to the patients undergoing pre and post natal care.”
After state was asked to reply to petitioner’s fact finding report, State admitted that there was indeed shortage of toilets and this prompted Sikkim High Court to pass direction to treat construction of more toilets as first phase towards providing better facilities.
Court has asked State to file a progress report within 30 days and has fixed the case for further hearing to consider rest of issues raised in the Public Interest Petition. It is pertinent to note that Sikkim which is commonly perceived as a peaceful and prosperous state remains unconcerned by and large towards its duties towards women and children and non-implementation of a centrally sponsored scheme called NHRM is symbolic to such attitude. With Hon’ble High Court of Sikkim bringing State under its scanner in instant PIL, some progress in this regard is expected. Case is being argued by Dr. Doma T. Bhutia in Sikkim High Court.
For further details, please contact:
Advocate Dr. Dolma T. Bhutia,
Human Rights Law Network-Sikkim
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