The Madras High Court bench here on Friday ordered notice to the Principal Secretary of the Health Department, the Dean of the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH), the Madurai District Collector and the Madurai City Police Commissioner on a public interest litigation filed by a social activist seeking enhancement of infrastructure and security in the GRH.

The petitioner, C. Anand Raj, director of Equal Right, an NGO, claimed that the GRH is the second largest government hospital in Tamil Nadu with an average of 8,000 out-patients visiting every day and at least 2,600 in-patients everyday.

Because of lack of adequate security measures, 13 newborn babies were stolen from the GRH’s maternity ward between 2006 and 2013, he claimed. Seven of the stolen babies have not been recovered to date.

Non-installation of CCTV cameras in vital spots and lack of adequate security guards are the reasons for infant thefts, he added.

Besides, he claimed there are no stretchers, wheel chairs, beds and other furniture in the hospital, due to which patients lay in the corridors.

Open drainages in the hospital premises and some of the damaged portions in the hospital building pose a threat to the health and safety of the visitors, he submitted.

The GRH’s mortuary is poorly maintained, the petitioner said in his petition. According to Mr. Raj, the State government has sanctioned Rs 1.39 crore to modernize the mortuary, but no work has commenced to date.

There are several vacancies for doctors, nurses, technicians, assistants, pharmacists, lab technicians and scavengers in the GRH for a long period and they should be filled, he contended.

Section 20 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, mandates that the State government should ensure that the government hospitals should provide medical support for senior citizens. Therefore, a separate ward should be established in the GRH for the benefit of senior citizens, the petitioner further said.

He also sought a direction against felling of trees in the hospital, adequate number of beds in the wards and sufficient parking facilities.

A Division Bench comprising Justices R. Sudhakar and S. Vaidyanathan ordered notice to the officials and adjourned the case to January 10, 2014 for further hearing.

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