BMC defies HC order, 18 maternity hospitals yet to get CCTV cover

In 2009, a baby was stolen from Sion hospital, following which the Bombay HC had pulled up the Mumbai civic body and state government. The HC had ordered BMC and the state to instal CCTVs in all hospitals and maternity homes in the city

BMC defies HC order, 18 maternity hospitals yet to get CCTV cover
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To curb the increasing incidents of child thefts in Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hospitals and maternity homes, the Bombay High Court (HC) had rapped the civic administration, directing it to instal CCTVs in all hospitals and maternity homes. But, Asia’s richest civic body has grossly violated HC order.

This shows that the BMC administration is not serious and concerned towards child theft cases despite HC order.

In 2009, a baby was stolen from Sion hospital and taking a very serious note of the shocking incident, the Bombay HC had pulled up the BMC and state government for not providing adequate security at hospitals. The HC has ordered BMC and the state to instal CCTVs in all hospitals and maternity homes in the city.

Hearing a writ petition filed in connection with the Sion Hospital baby theft case, the HC had come down heavily on the BMC, and had laid down 22 guidelines for the safety and security purpose.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Shiv Sena corporator, Sheetal Mhatre, who had raised the questions of security, said, “I had demanded an answer from municipal commissioner about CCTV installation in BMC-run hospitals and maternity home. But, details which I have received are completely shocking. It displays administration’s apathetic attitude.”

“The list provided by BMC has given details of 52 major, peripheral and maternity hospitals. But, most alarming factor is BMC commissioner, in his reply to my question, has accepted that the 18 maternity hospitals across the city have not a single CCTV,” said Mhatre.

BMC defies HC order, 18 maternity hospitals yet to get CCTV cover
A copy of the Q and A

In a few hospitals, according to her, CCTVs are present, but around 190 of them are dysfunctional.

“This clearly indicates that BMC and the municipal commissioner himself is not interested in taking child theft cases seriously,” said Mhatre.

The corporator questioned that when the annual maintenance contact for CCTVs has ended way back in 2009, then why has the administration not taken efforts to maintain the CCTVs?

She further alleged that with this gross negligence, the BMC is putting life of a baby and mother in danger.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, advocate Amit Karkhanis, who had represented the petitioners in Sion baby theft case, said, “This is indeed shocking, it’s a gross violation of the HC’s directive, and a direct contempt of court. The honourable HC had clearly laid down the guidelines and BMC had also agreed on the same. Still after six years we are witnessing this.”

Sources say after HC’s directives, BMC had taken a decision to instal CCTVs in 27 big and small hospitals and 26 maternity homes run by BMC, and it has installed around 1,500 CCTVs in 27 hospitals and 8 maternity homes across the city. But, there are still 18 maternity hospitals, which are run by BMC and yet to get CCTV cover.

Guidelines laid by the HC:

  • CCTV cameras should cover all the entry and exit routes as well as sensitive areas of the hospitals like neonatal, postnatal wards and paediatric wards
  • Entry doors of the above wards must be kept closed, and the entry must be restricted and regulated.
  • Security Guards must be present for all the 24 hours outside neonatal and postnatal wards and paediatric wards.
  • Female Security Guards must be posted inside neonatal and postnatal wards and paediatric wards.