The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the state director general of police (DGP) asking him to get the matter of Choithram Hospital, not releasing a person’s body to relatives, enquired by an officer posted outside Indore district and submit the report within six weeks.
The notice was served on May 16 last.
Acting on a complaint filed by Subash Mohapatra of Global Human Rights Communications, the NHRC took cognisance of the incident, which took place in July 2013.
Indore police have submitted two reports till now.
The first report, which was submitted by the police on October 21, 2013, was questioned by the petitioner and a notice was issued again on July 29, 2014, to the police.
In response to the answer furnished by the Indore police, which was submitted by SP headquarters, NHRC on May 16 last said that the contents of the report were identical to the earlier report, which was already considered by the commission.
“The report is merely based on police records and thus does not inspire confidence,” the commission stated.
Shankar Basu, a poor driver from Bihar, admitted to the Choithram Hospital on June 30, 2013, by a transporter, died on July 16, 2013.
The hospital refused to hand over the body to family members, as they were not able to pay the bill of Rs 1.25 lakh.
On July 19, 2013, the hospital authorities reported the police that a body is with them. The police did not investigate the matter, nor did they bother to ask the hospital management as to why the body was detained.
“The authorities at 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 detained for non-payment of the medical bill. After three days, the hospital authorities reported the police that a body is 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 the commission, however, offers 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 was performed by Shri Satyaguru Dutt Dharmik Avam Parmarthik Trust, Indore. The report claims that the allegations regarding non-delivery of the body to the family members are baseless and false,” the police report said.
“The enquiry conducted by the Indore police is not appropriate and the police have also not provided us relevant documents such as post-mortem report, panchnama, seizures, statements recorded during the enquiry,” Mohapatra said.