Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Friday, while addressing the Additional Advocate General appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh in the case of a 82-year-old-man who went missing from a hospital in Uttar Pradesh last year, said, “You don’t comply with directions, last minute when contempt is sought you come. It is the habit of your state.”
In the present case, a habeas corpus petition was filed by a man whose father went missing from the hospital during the Covid times. The man wanted the father to be found by the Hospital and presented before him. He filed a case before the Allahabad High Court seeking justice. The Court directed the state on 25th April to produce the man before the Court on 6 May, else the state officers were to be presented before the court in person.
Against that order, the State of UP and the 8 state officers filed the present special leave petition.
The court room discussions
Assistant Advocate General(AAG): Garima Prashad said this is an unfortunate thing.
CJI NV Ramana: Sorry to say but this has become a habit of this state to not take action unless contempt is filed
Justice Krishna Murari: What surprises me is his oxygen levels were so low. He could hardly walk? Where could he go?
AAG Prashad: Two SITs had been formed as well
Justice Murari: ….but corpses cannot walk !
AAG Prashad: We have to see whether at all there was illegal detention.
AAG: The HC has asked all the 8 respondents to appear. There is doctrine of impossibility too.
Justice Hima Kohli: It has been a year. It was on May 7 last year and now it is a year
Justice Murari: Did you check if his body was somewhere
AAG: We have checked all cremation centres in Prayagraj also. As per his last medical exam his paramters were normal
Justice Murari: …It seems that means he vanished into thin air right !
AAG: This was time when second Covid wave was at its peak. Doctor and the person who was maintaining CCTV were also suffering from COVID. We have terminated all staff who was there, disciplinary proceedings were initiated and even doctors were suspended.
AAG: Allahabad HC is asking us to produce the corpus but in a missing person case how can we produce the corpus, it is not possible at all.
AAG: We had even put up coloured posters and ads on Doordarshan and Akashvani. Now the HC has summoned 8 officers today including the Chief Secretary of the state. How can it be done.
AAG: HC has been insisting on producing the corpus. We have apologized before the HC. Today CMO, Chief Secretary and Additional CS has been called
CJI: How much will you pay as compensation?
AAG: We are in your hands. He was 82 years old. He was a junior engineer in Kaushambhi
AAG: CCTV was examined and FSL is still examining
Justice Hima Kohli: Half of them were not functioning
AAG: We took corrective steps then itself
Justice Kohli: as usual !
CJI: Issue notice. UP submits that they are ready to pay some compensation. They are to pay 50,000 to the respondents for legal expenses.
The CJI has said to list this matter in July and stay all proceedings of the High Court