High court summons Sah, husband with their child

Kathmandu, October 20

Patan High Court ordered former lawmaker Gayatri Sah and her husband, Rajesh Mahato, to take custody of their child from Mediciti Hospital and appear before the court with their child within three days.

Shah had given birth to a baby with Down syndrome on March 12 at the hospital but had refused to take custody of the child, saying the doctors did not reveal to her the child’s medical condition when the child was in her womb.

The order was issued by Patan High Court’s Registrar Baburam Dahal based on an order passed by a division bench of Patan High Court judges Kumar Gautam and Tek Narayan Kunwar.

On October 17, the bench had ordered Dahal to issue appropriate order with regard to the custody of the child, on the basis of recommendation by the Medical Board. “Division bench of Gautam and Kunwar asked me to issue an order in the best interest of the child and as the Medical Board wrote to us saying the child could be discharged from the hospital, I issued the order to Sah and her husband to appear before the court, with the child,” Dahal said.

The couple was arrested on May 5, on the charge of abandoning their newborn at the hospital, but were later released by a court order.

Mediciti Hospital had filed a writ petition against Sah and her husband under Children’s Act, for abandoning the baby.

The couple had been staging protest on the hospital premises accusing the hospital of lying about the infant’s health condition while in the mother’s womb, during their routine checks.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition where children show some level of intellectual disability, a distinct appearance and some health and developmental challenges.

During the protest, they alleged that doctors had lied to them saying the infant inside the womb was ‘completely healthy’. The hospital management has, however, defended itself saying it was not possible to diagnose the exact health condition of the foetus in Nepal.