Taking a serious view of the inordinate delay in disbursal of the amount that led to the suicide of the parents of one of the engineers of a ship ‘Pratibha Cauvery,’ the National Human Rights Commission has asked the acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to take appropriate action against Registrar General G. Chockalingam for his failure to perform his duty.

In early March, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had requested the acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to conduct an enquiry against the Registrar-General.

The NCBC member, S.K. Kharventhan, had forwarded the copy of the complaint from advocate T.P. Senthilkumar to the NHRC for necessary action against the Registrar-General, alleging that his gross failure to distribute the amount to the families of the seamen who were killed amounted to violation of rights.

Mr. Senthilkumar had highlighted the gross injustice meted out to K.N. Kothandapani and his wife Bharathy (parents of one of the victims), who apparently had no alternative but to commit suicide on February 22, leaving suicide notes.

In his letter to the NHRC, Mr. Kharventhan said as per the High Court order the shipping company deposited Rs. 30 lakh on December 3, 2012, and on December 5, 2012 the High Court directed the Registrar-General to disburse the amount to the families of the six deceased crew members.

He said, “Even though the deceased K.N. Kothandapani and his wife Bharathy had submitted all necessary documents and affidavits to the Registrar-General, he had failed in his duty to settle the claim for nearly three months. Not only did he fail in his duty but also fail to follow the direction given by the High Court.

Due to the lethargic attitude of the Registrar-General, Kothandapani and Bharathy committed suicide on their wedding anniversary day on February 22 leaving suicide notes to draw the attention of the State and the judiciary to their plight.”

In its response, the NHRC said the complaint was placed before the Commission and after perusing the complaint, it decided to forward it to the acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court for such action as deemed appropriate.

Accordingly the Commission forwarded the complaint to the acting Chief Justice.

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