The Madras High Court bench here on Wednesday refused to accept a report submitted by the deputy home secretary on the steps taken by the government to prevent infants going missing from government hospitals and directed the health secretary, home secretary and director general of police to submit their reports on October 23.
A division bench comprising Justices V. Dhanapalan and M. Duraiswamy issued the directions based on a petition filed by T. Meenakshi (19), whose day-old boy baby was lifted from the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai on June 15 this year.
Ms.Meenakshi had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking a direction to the police to trace her infant.
The petitioner’s counsel had claimed that several newborns were being lifted from the GRH. In spite of complaints pending with the GRH police and the Mathichiam police, child lifting persisted at the GRH, he alleged.
The division bench had earlier directed the secretaries of the home and health departments and the director general of police to submit their reports on the number of children who went missing from the government hospitals, the safety measures taken in the hospitals and the steps taken to trace the missing infants.
On Wednesday, the deputy secretary of the home department and the dean of the GRH submitted the reports.
Refusing to accept the reports, the judges said, “It has been stated (by the petitioner’s counsel) that from January 6 to June 13 this year eight babies had gone missing from the GRH. Considering the gravity of the issue, we are not inclined to accept the report submitted by the deputy secretary (of home).”
They directed the top officials to submit their reports “with utmost urgency”.