Shiv explained that no one helped them
It has been claimed that an Indian couple were forced to “sell” their newborn baby to a hospital because they could not afford their medical bills.
Shiv Charan and his wife Babita were left with a bill of Rs. 35,000 (£360) after their baby son was delivered by caesarian section at the hospital in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
Neither she nor her husband had the money to pay for the procedure.
According to the couple, the hospital asked them to sell the baby to them for Rs. 1 Lakh (£1,000) in order to settle the debt.
District magistrate Prabhu Singh said: “This is a serious matter. It will be investigated and suitable action taken against those found guilty.”
Municipal ward councillor Hari Mohan said he was “aware that the couple had to sell their child for not being able to pay hospital bills.”
It was revealed that Shiv was facing financial strain.
However, the hospital has denied the allegations, saying that the baby had been “given up” for adoption.
JP Hospital manager Seema Gupta said: “These claims are wrong. We didn’t force him to give up his child. He did so of his own accord.
“I have a copy of the written agreement signed by the parents, expressing his willingness.”
Shiv, Babita and their five children live in a rented apartment. Shiv makes up to Rs. 100 (£1) a day as a rickshaw driver. Their eldest son used to work at a shoe factory until it closed during the lockdown.
Shiv explained that no one helped them figure out where they could get free treatment when his wife was pregnant.
He added: “At 6:45 pm on August 24, she gave birth to a baby boy.”
However, they could not afford the medical bills.
“My wife and I can’t read or write. We gave thumb impressions on all documents as the hospital asked.”
“I didn’t get discharge papers, bills or any other papers.”
The baby was eventually sold for Rs. 1 Lakh.
According to reports, such transactions are usually followed by babies, mostly boys, being “sold” to parents looking for easy adoption.
Child rights activist Naresh Paras has said that the hospital has committed a crime as their claim of a written agreement holds no value.
Meanwhile, the Indian couple want their child back.
Babita said: “We just needed some money.”
Naresh added: “The pregnant woman didn’t receive any benefit under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, the local anganwadi centre didn’t help, nor did Asha workers point her to the community health centre.
“The district administration should make sure this doesn’t happen again.”