A division bench headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar also asked the state government to immediately issue show cause notices to all those persons whose conduct had been adversely commented on by an enquiry committee which was constituted by Odisha State Commission for Women (OSCW), and take action against the errant doctors and health workers.
“There had been an acute failure of the entire team of doctors at each level of the healthcare system in Odisha to provide timely and adequate care and treatment to the deceased as pointed out by the enquiry committee,” the bench said.
It said the incident shocked the judicial conscience as to how a poor tribal woman carried a dead foetus for around a week and ran from pillar to post for medical attention prior to her death in March 2015, with not a single healthcare worker coming to her respite.
“This has been a clear violation of the fundamental right to health of the deceased which constitutes an integral part of the right to life guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution,” the high court said with deep concern.
It ordered the OSCW to probe 27 other writ petitions of similar nature filed in the court.
“The increasing number of maternal deaths in Odisha point to a systematic failure of the healthcare system which appears to have failed the poorest and weakest at a time when they need it the most,” the division bench also comprising Justice M S Raman said in its 23-page judgment. PTI COR AAM ACD ACD