The Supreme Court has sought a response within seven days from the Centre and the Bihar government on the issue of the deaths of more than 100 children in Muzaffarpur due to the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B R Gavai also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a response on the deaths from the disease in the state.
The bench directed the Bihar government to file an affidavit on the adequacy of medical facilities, nutrition and sanitation and the hygiene conditions in the state.
The court asked the government to reply on the adequacy of medicines, nutrition and hygiene, following which the state said that “things were under control” and sought 10 days to file a written reply. However, the court granted it seven days to file a response.
During the hearing, one of the lawyers informed the court that similar deaths had occurred earlier in Uttar Pradesh. The court took note of it and directed the state government to file its response as well.
The matter has been posted for hearing after 10 days.
The petition was filed by an advocate, Manohar Pratap, who said he was deeply pained and saddened by the deaths of more than 126 children, mostly in the age group of one to 10 years, in the past weeks. The figures were rising day by day, the petition stated.
“The deaths of children are a direct result of negligence and inaction on the part of the respective state governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Union of India in handling the epidemical situation which arises every year due to outbreak of AES also called Japanese encephalitis,” the plea said.
It claimed thousands of young children were losing their lives yearly from the disease but the governments (states and Centre) had done nothing to prevent its spread.
“This year i.e in 2019, the epicentre of the said disease is Muzaffarpur in Bihar where more than 126 children have lost their lives in past one week. Media reports shows that there is acute shortage of doctors, medical facilities, intensive care units and other medical equipments in the hospitals in nearby areas and children are dying in hospitals due to lack of required facilities,” the petition said.