Exemplary compensation to family of deceased Naga lady

Exemplary compensation to family of deceased Naga lady

More than three years after a 30-year-old woman in Nagaland's Mon district died during the birth of her seventh child, Gauhati high court has ordered the state government to pay "exemplary compensation" of Rs. 25 lakh to her family.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by her step-son, Kohima bench of the high court on Friday issued the order as the family complained that the health sub-centre in their village, Monyakshu remained shut and even lacked facilities for safe delivery, as per Janani Suraksha Yojana, a scheme under National Health Rural Mission.

The petitioner, Moba Changkai complained to the high court that his stepmother, Bema died while delivering her seventh child at around on July 11, 2016. As the health sub-centre was closed, they hired a vehicle to take her to the Mon district hospital, situated about 130-km away but she died on the way before her delivery.

The family also alleged that an ASHA worker of the village, who was supposed to identify a pregnant woman of BPL family for benefits under JSY, did not discharge her duty.

According to a fact-finding report of Human Rights Law Network, an NGO, which helped the family, Bema lived with her husband Shahyan, 50, a poor farmer and four children. Bema gave birth to six children earlier at her home, assisted by her husband. Three of them died due to jaundice and measles before they turned five. "None of the children were immunised. They did not get any schooling due to poor economic conditions. She could not avail benefits of NHM as she was oblivious to them as the sub-centre perpetually remained closed. Her labour pain started at 2 am. Her husband tried to deliver the baby at home. After strenuous pushing and agony, one arm of the baby emerged from her birth canal. Then they decided to take her to the district hospital. Around 6.30 am Bema died while on the way to Mon. Her newborn baby also did not survive," it said.

The high court also ordered the health department to pay another Rs. 20,000 under National Family Benefit Scheme and Rs 15,000 for the legal expense.