Mon. Jul 13th, 2020

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Government has money for statues, not public health: Bombay High Court

Coming down heavily on Maharshtra government, a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and RI Chagla said that government had money for building statutes but not for public health while hearing a PIL seeking release of grants to Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital.

he Bombay High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Maharashtra government for dragging its feet over financial aid to Wadia Hospitals for women and children, and said the government has money for statues but not for public health.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and R I Chagla was hearing a public interest litigation seeking release of grants to Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government.

The maternity hospital receives grant from the state government and the children’s hospital gets it from the BMC. Government counsel Girish Godbole told the court that the state finance department has sanctioned Rs 24 crore from the contingency fund.

“The amount will be released lump sum to the Wadia Maternity Hospital within three weeks,” he said.

The bench, however, said it was unimpressed with this and that the amount should be released by Friday.

“The government wants to build Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue taller than the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue. For all this money is there, but those people whom Ambedkar represented all his life can die?” Justice Dharmadhikari asked.

“Do people require medical aid or statues to rid themselves of ailments and diseases?” the court asked.

Public health has never been a priority for the government, the bench said, adding that the “chief minister is busy inaugurating bridges”.

“We thought there are new faces at the political helm, then all these matters won’t come to court. This does not auger well,” the court said.