‘Shocking’: Patna HC on viral video of toddler trying to wake up dead mother
Patna High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognizance of report on the viral heart-rending video showing a two-and-half-year-old child trying to wake up his dead mother by pulling the makeshift shroud at the railway platform in Muzaffarpur. The incident happened on Monday.
“This warrants intervention by us in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and as such we take suo motu cognizance of the news item and issue notice,” said the bench of the Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar after the matter was brought to their notice during the course of a hearing, when the latter brought it to the notice of the CJ.
Describing the incident as “rather shocking and unfortunate”, the bench requested counsel Ashish Giri to assist the court as Amicus Curaie, as the apex court has also taken cognizance of matters pertaining to the migrants. The bench also asked Additional Advocate General-IX SD Yadav to ascertain from the nominated standing counsel for the state of Bihar in the Supreme Court, as to whether the apex court has taken cognizance of this particular incident or not.
In the afternoon session, Yadav said that no information could be ascertained from the standing counsel in the apex court or the solicitor general of India. He, however, told the court that deceased was mentally unstable and had died a natural death during the course of her journey from Surat (Gujarat) and it was reported to railway authorities by her sister and brother-in-law Md Wazir. “The deceased, who had been deserted by her husband, had only one child,” he added.
He said that after recording Wazir’s statement, the dead body was allowed to be taken home. “No post mortem was conducted and no FIR was registered. The district administration provided an ambulance up to the place of destination. The orphaned child is in safe custody and under guardianship of the sister of the deceased,” he said, adding that his statements were based on the instructions received and the recorded statement of Md Wazir.
Awaiting instructions from the standing counsel in the Supreme Court, the bench fixed June 3 as the next date of hearing. “Let complete facts be made known to the Court, on the personal affidavit of the concerned Principal Secretaries before the next date,” it added.
Earlier, the court raised several queries, viz. whether the postmortem of the dead-body was conducted? If yes, what was the cause of death? Did the woman actually die of hunger? Was she travelling alone with her sibling? If not, who all were her companions? Who is now taking care of the children/sibling(s), who unfortunately lost their mother?
It issued notices to the union of India through the principal secretary, disaster management, New Delhi, the state of Bihar through its chief secretary, the departments of health & family welfare, disaster management, home, social justice through their principal secretaries, the Indian Railways and the IG (Police).