The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed Indore superintendent of police (headquarters) to submit an additional report within eight weeks and raised questions on the 'role of police' while investigating the case of withholding a body in Choithram Hospital. The NHRC issued the direction to Indore police on Saturday in this regard.
Acting on a complaint filed by Subash Mohapatra of Global Human Rights Communications, the NHRC took cognizance of the incident which took place in July, 2013 and issued a notice on July 29, 2014 to Indore police.
Indore police had submitted a report in this regard on October 21, 2013. The report submitted by Indore police to NHRC was questioned by the petitioner and hence NHRC found that "the complainant raised substantial objections against the police report and role of the police in the matter."
Shankar Basu, a poor driver from Bihar, who was admitted on June 30, 2013 by a transporter, died in Choithram Hospital on July 16, 2013. The hospital refused to hand over the body to his family members as they were not able to pay the pending bill of `1.25 lakh. On July 19, 2013, the hospital authorities reported the matter to the police about a body being with them. The police did not investigate the matter nor did they bother to ask the hospital management as to why the body was not handed over to the kin.
"The authorities of Indore’s Choithram Hospital and Research Centre refused to give the body to the family members of a poor driver who died in the hospital during treatment. The body was withheld for non-payment of the medical bill. After three days, the hospital authorities reported to the police that a body was with them. The police did not investigate the case, nor did they take any action against the hospital authorities," Mohapatra alleged in his petition.
The police report submitted to NHRC, however, has a different version. The report admits that a bill of Rs. 1.25 lakh was raised against his name. "On July 5, 2013, the family members of the driver came to the hospital, but they left the place without any information and did not turn up again. Despite information given by the hospital authorities, the family of the deceased did not respond. The hospital, therefore, informed the police after three days and last rites were performed by Shri Satyaguru Dutt Dharmik Avam Parmarthik Trust, Indore.
The report claims that the allegations regarding non-delivery of body to the family members was baseless and false," the police report said.
The petitioner objected to police report and questioned police’s role during investigation as ‘rule of law’ and procedure was not followed. "The complainant has raised substantial objections against the report and role of police in the matter”, the commission pointed out and directed the SP (HQ), Indore, for an additional report in the light of the comments of the complainant within eight weeks”.
"We have not received documents or report to substantiate that proper investigation was going on. We are not aware whether the enquiry report was sent to the NHRC with all relevant documents such as post-mortem report, panchnama, seizures, statements recorded during the enquiry etc. Thus, we reject the said enquiry as it does not qualify the basic ingredients of proper probe," Mohapatra said.