This case focuses on the violation of reproductive rights of a below the poverty line (BPL) woman, Shanti Devi who is of Scheduled Caste. This case highlights the humiliation and loss of human dignity of many poor women who seek emergency obstetric care. Shanti Devi was denied medical treatment from 4 different hospitals in Delhi, whilst she was carrying a 32 week dead fetus in her stomach, because she could not afford to pay the fees being demanded. One of the hospital’s involved is a private hospital which is bound by the Delhi Directives: which state that hospitals who receive land at concessionary prices must reserve 10% of their beds for the free treatment of BPLs. The private hospital demanded that in order to access treatment Shanti and her family deposit Rs 2.5 lakh.
HRLN filed the case in January 2009 and at the first hearing the court ordered Shanti Devi to be immediately admitted to hospital and to be treated free of cost. Shanti Devi was treated in hospital for 18 days.
This case seeks (i) compensation to the victim for the medical negligence and humiliation and abuse from medical staff she and her family were forced to endure. (ii) Disciplinary action against the hospital staff involved (iii)full implementation of the Service Guarantees set under the National Rural Health Mission (iii) an order instructing strict implementation of the Delhi Directives regarding free bed and free treatment to all persons living below the poverty line.