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COVID Death Data: Verify Facts Before Placing Them In Court, Else It Would Amount To Filing Of False Affidavit: Patna HC To Govt

Sparsh Upadhyay
17 May 2021 4:09 PM GMT
COVID Death Data: Verify Facts Before Placing Them In Court, Else It Would Amount To Filing Of False Affidavit: Patna HC To Govt
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Observing that in Buxar District of Bihar, if in 10 days only in one crematorium, 789 persons were cremated, then what would be the position in the entire District, the Patna High Court on Monday (May 17) directed the State Government, "All facts first must be verified from all sources and then only placed before us, else it will amount to filing of...

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Observing that in Buxar District of Bihar, if in 10 days only in one crematorium, 789 persons were cremated, then what would be the position in the entire District, the Patna High Court on Monday (May 17) directed the State Government,

"All facts first must be verified from all sources and then only placed before us, else it will amount to filing of false/incomplete affidavit".

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar also directed Government that the official Website maintained by the State of Bihar for recording the births and the deaths be regularly updated.

Issue of oxygen

The Additional Solicitor General informed the Court that State's request for enhancement of oxygen (LMO) stood favorably considered by the appropriate authority/Central Government and now the State is entitled to supply of 400 Metric Tonnes (MT) of oxygen (LMO).

However, the Court asked the State Government to inform the court about the sufficiency or lack thereof, of the infrastructure for transporting the entire allocated quota of oxygen (LMO) and also to apprise the Court of the infrastructure for storage and transportation up to the point of end-user.

Issue of floating dead bodies

On the issue of dead bodies found flowing in River Ganges at Buxar, the Court was informed that in all, 81 dead bodies were found flowing in River Ganges, 71 on 10th May 2021; on 11 May 2021; and on 12th May 2021 and immediately, a postmortem of all the dead bodies was got conducted and DNA profiling carried out.

It was also made clear that after following the due procedure, last rites of all the dead bodies were performed and that some of the dead bodies were found to be in a mutilated condition.

As per the deponent, the dead bodies had "come from Uttar Pradesh due to the upstream of river Ganga" and further, all remedial measures were taken for avoiding pollution in the river Ganges and as such "Mahajal was put on the Boarder of U.P. and Bihar on 10th May 2021."

Court's observations

Further, the Court noted that within ten days, i.e. 5th of May, 2021 to 14th of May, 2021, 789 persons were cremated only at one cremation ground, i.e. Muktidham Charitarban, Buxar.

To this, the Court remarked,

"In Bihar, District Buxar has a huge population of 17 lakhs persons (approx.). If in ten days only in one crematorium, 789 persons were cremated, then what would be the position in the entire District and that too of persons belonging to all faith. Also, it is not clear from both the affidavits as to whether the deaths occurred/persons cremated were suffering from Covid-19. It would also be important to ascertain the age group of these persons. All such facts needs to be clarified."

Lastly, the Court also said,

"We see no reason as to why the deaths, be it 6 or 789, would not have been updated on the official website. Equally, this would apply to all the Districts of Bihar."

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