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Baby swapping dispute in HC

- Couple file a petition seeking DNA test, demand compensation
Orissa High Court

Cuttack, April 10: The controversy over alleged baby swapping at the obstetrics & gynaecology department of SCB Medical College Hospital reached Orissa High Court today with a petition seeking direction for a DNA test to resolve the dispute.

The couple, Sushanta Mallick and Rashmita, who have refused to accept a girl child, alleged that their newborn boy had been swapped with someone else’s girl baby.

Rashmita had delivered a child around 5.20pm on March 30. Sushanta of Asureswar in Cuttack alleged that a male child was born to his wife, but was substituted by a newborn girl. SCB Medical College Hospital authorities asserted that she had given birth to a girl child and discharged her. But the couple have refused to accept the girl baby.

Consequently, a stalemate has persisted for the past 12 days and the future of the girl child has been uncertain.

The petition was filed today after the hospital authorities categorically refused to suo motu go for DNA test to ascertain the biological parents of the abandoned girl.

“Apart from seeking direction for DNA test, the petition has also sought compensation for the mental agony caused because of the dispute,” petitioner counsel Gopal Krushna Mohanty told The Telegraph.

“The petition has also sought direction to the SCB Medical College Hospital authorities and health department to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future,” Mohanty said.

Earlier, the advocates’ committee on healthcare constituted by the high court had inspected the case and suggested DNA testing. But the hospital authorities left it to the couple to accept the baby or move court for DNA test. Internal inquiry and scrutiny of records indicated that the woman had delivered a girl child and there had been no swapping of babies, hospital authorities said.

After meeting Rashmita at the hospital on Monday night, chairperson of the State Commission for Women Jyoti Panigrahi said: “Efforts should be taken to resolve the dispute without a DNA test.”

“It appears that the woman was not shown the baby after the delivery, because of which there has been a controversy. Steps should be taken to help the mother overcome the trauma,” Panigrahi said.