New Delhi [India], May 6 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to the Uttar Pradesh government’s tendency of not taking action on issues until a contempt plea is filed against it, while hearing a case related to an 82-year-old COVID-19 patient who allegedly went missing from a hospital last year.
A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli told the Additional Advocate General appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, “You don’t comply with directions, last-minute when contempt is sought, you come. It is the habit of your state.”
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the state government challenging an order of the Allahabad High Court which summoned eight officers of the state government, including the Chief Secretary and officials from the Chief Minister’s office.
While hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Ram Lal Yadav’s son seeking his release from the hospital’s custody, the High Court, on April 25, directed the state officials to produce the man before the Court on May 6 failing which, the state officers were to remain personally present before the Court.
The eight officials were Principal Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Home); Additional Chief Secretary (Medical & Health); Director-General, Medical and Health; District Magistrate, Senior Superintendent of Police, Chief Medical Officer of Prayagraj; and Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital.
The Uttar Pradesh government and eight state officers approached the apex court against the High Court’s order.
Hearing the case, the top court today issued notice on State’s petition and stayed further proceedings before the High Court.
The bench directed the State government to pay Rs 50,000 to the other party as an initial amount to cover the litigation expenses and enable them to appear before the Supreme Court. The matter will be heard in July now.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Additional Advocate General Garima Parshad argued that two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) had been formed to probe the issue and to check whether there was illegal detention of the missing person in question.
The state is in a difficulty as while the High Court has passed orders directing the state to produce the corpus but the corpus is a missing person, she added.
To this, the bench said, “How can he be missing? His oxygen was 82, he was unable to walk. He was in the hospital. Where will the body go? It has been a year. It was on May 7 last year and now it is a year.”
The state government said as soon as the State authorities were informed of Yadav going missing they have taken all possible and best efforts to trace his whereabouts.
The plea in High Court was filed seeking the release of Yadav from the custody of TB Sapru Hospital in Prayagraj, where he was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 but purportedly went missing. His son in the plea stated that his father was admitted to TB Sapru Hospital on May 4 after testing for COVID-19 and on May 6, he himself tested positive and was recommended home isolation.
The next day, he was informed by the hospital authorities that his father is being shifted to Trauma Center due to a sharp decline in Oxygen levels, and on May 8, he was informed by the hospital authorities that his father is missing, it had added. (ANI)