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An ill-fated journey: Video of toddler with dead mother moves Patna HC

By Arun Kumar, Patna
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2020 11:17 PM IST

The Patna High Court Thursday took suo motu cognizance of reports on the viral heart-rending video showing a two-and-a-half-year-old child trying to wake up her dead mother by pulling the makeshift shroud at the railway station in Muzaffarpur.

The incident had happened on Monday

“This warrants intervention by us in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India,” said the bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar.

Describing the incident as “rather shocking and unfortunate”, the bench requested advocate Ashish Giri to assist the court as amicus curiae. The bench also asked additional advocate genera 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. It posted the matter for 2.15 pm Thursday.

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 said.

Yadav said that after recording Wazir’s statement, the woman’s body was allowed to be taken home. “No post- mortem examination 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 guardianship of the sister of the deceased,” he said, adding that his statements were based on the instructions so 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 said.

Earlier, the court asked several questions, viz. whether the postmortem examination of the 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).

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