NHRC notice to the Government of Maharashtra over reported molesting of a girl patient at Kalwa hospital of Thane Municipal corporation (27.12.2018)

New Delhi, 27th December, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a 39-year-old sweeper tied the hand of a 14-year-old seizure patient to the bed and molested her inside the ICU of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) run Kalwa hospital. He was subsequently arrested.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra calling for a detailed report in the matter including action taken against the guilty and relief and rehabilitation/ counseling provided to the victim. The Commission would also like to know whether such incidents have occurred in the past in any of the government hospitals if yes, what steps have been taken by the authorities to ensure safety and security of the indoor patients at the government run hospitals. Response is expected within four weeks.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to gross human rights violation of the victim patient. The victim girl was in lawful custody of the hospital and it was obligatory on the part of the hospital to provide her proper safety during the indoor treatment. It is necessary for the employer authorities to check the credentials of the workers, who are being deputed in the sensitive areas. Due to lapse on the part of the hospital authorities, the victim girl was victimized by the accused employee. The shameful incident occurring at a government run facility raises a question mark on the safety of the patients, particularly the female patients in the hospital.

According to the media reports, carried today on the 27th December, 2018, the accused, a 39-year-old contract worker deployed in the particular ward, was sweeping and arranging the ward while one hand of the victim was tied to the bed to prevent the saline drip from falling out during a seizure. The accused allegedly tied the other hand of the patient to the bed and started touching her inappropriately, while it was noticed by another patient in the room who alerted the staff. The Medical Superintendent of the hospital has reportedly stated that appropriate action has been taken and the contractor who deputed the accused on work in the hospital has been told to dismiss him.