In a decision that could affect millions of women and children in India, the Delhi High Court ordered the Government of Delhi to compensate a woman who gave birth alone three months after she was denied medical benefits by a public maternity center. The case was filed by MacArthur grantee the Socio Legal Information Center. India, which ranks first in the world for maternal deaths, has national laws and initiatives that seek to reduce infant and maternal mortality, including universal access to health services for pregnant women. A judge said the case of the 24-year-old illiterate woman reflects problems with protection and enforcement of the initiatives. The Delhi Government and the maternity center were ordered to jointly pay the woman 50,000 Rupees (about $1,100) for denial of basic medical facilities. In addition, the Court ordered the government to pay the woman’s medical expenses and other support. MacArthur has long supported efforts in India to improve maternal health.

Population & Reproductive Health, Health, India, Justice, Population