An inquiry has been launched into the death of a newborn who died after falling off a bench on which he was delivered at a government-run hospital in the south Indian state of Telangana.

The baby's family has accused the hospital of negligence, saying it denied the mother a bed, which forced her to deliver the baby on a bench outside the labour room.

The incident took place in the state's Khammam district on Saturday (9 September) when Nagamani went into labour and was taken to the hospital. Rajaiah, the 26-year-old's husband, said that despite knowing that she needed urgent help, no one from the hospital came forward to assist her.

He also claimed that the doctors refused to attend to her saying there was still time for delivery.

"Nobody bothered to attend her. There was no nursing staffs," he alleged, adding that his wife delivered with the help of other relatives.

After the delivery, when Nagamani tried to hold the baby, he accidentally slipped off the bench and fell to the floor. It was then that the hospital staff came and took the baby into the labour room, he alleged.

"They later declared him dead," Rajaiah told The Hindustan Times.

However, Khammam Government Hospital superintendent Madan Singh has denied the allegations and said the baby died because he was born premature. The woman was only in the eighth month of her pregnancy, he said.

"She (the woman) was brought to the hospital in the eighth month of pregnancy and it was a premature delivery. The infant was stillborn and could have died in the womb itself due to medical complications," Singh said.

"When she got admitted, the doctors already explained about the risk factor and complications even before the delivery and they accepted to go ahead," he told NDTV.

Singh said that the family had ignored their advice even after the woman's delivery. The hospital was against discharging the woman considering the circumstances of the birth, but the family went ahead and took her home, he added.