A 27-year-old pregnant woman was forced to give birth on the road in Salem, Tamil Nadu, after she was driven away from a government hospital.

Lakshmi and her husband Samuel had gone to Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College Hospital on Sunday, but were denied admission when they failed to pay a bribe of ₹1000 charged by the hospital staff.

"The staff at the hospital refused to admit us unless we paid '1,000 as bribe although treatment is free at the hospital," Samuel told Deccan Chronicle.

Giving into the labour pangs, Lakshmi finally gave birth to a male child near a drain in the Commercial Complex premises with the help of another woman.

Seeing Laxmi and the baby, locals dialled up the 108 emergency ambulance service and admitted the mother and child to the government hospital.

When questioned about the incident, Dr R Vallinayakam, dean of the hospital, told The Times of India, "I have ordered a departmental probe. All the doctors, nurses and staff members have been told to come in for an inquiry. The identification parade will also be conducted on Monday in the presence of Lakshmi. A suspension order will be issued to anyone found guilty."

Lakshmi and husband Samuel, who work as labourers, shifted from Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh, to Salem two years ago.  The couple along with their two children - Naveen, two, and Venkatesh, five - spend the nights on the veranda of Corporation's Commercial Complex.

The incident has raised concern in Tamil Nadu which is ranked high in the health index. Domiciliary deliveries had declined from 35 percent in 1993 to 0.2 percent in 2011-2012.