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HC on birth, death records

Ranchi, Aug. 5: Jharkhand High Court today directed the Hemant Soren government to streamline a civil registration system (CRS) with adequate training to manpower to ensure that births and deaths in the state were recorded properly.

Chief Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Amitav Kumar Gupta, while hearing a PIL, also directed the state to empower headmasters of government schools to fill out forms for students without birth certificates after obtaining relevant details from their parents and have their births registered.

The PIL was initiated by the high court suo motu on January 24 on the basis of a report published in an English daily.

The report mentioned that out of every four births in the state only one was registered which was gross violation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.

The court, while registering the PIL, had sought the opinion of the state on the steps that could be taken to ensure systematic registration of births and deaths.

Additional advocate-general Jai Prakash informed the court that the government had already chalked out an action plan to tackle the problem and would ensure registration of all births and deaths in the state.

Prakash said a special training programme was in the pipeline for government medical officers for them to record and register births and not wait for parents to initiate the process of registration.

He explained that data on births and deaths would be made available to, and linked with, other welfare community services undertaken by the government.

Further, he said that in 2002, Jharkhand ensured 19.9 per cent registration of births against a national average of 59.5 per cent. In 2009, the state average increased to 51.6 per cent, while the national average of births registrations was 81.3 per cent.

The high court disposed of the petition, but directed the state to develop a mechanism for recording all births and deaths in the state.