Coronavirus lockdown | Muzaffarpur rail station incident shocking: HC

Bench takes suo motu cognisance of report

Updated - May 28, 2020 11:00 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2020 10:23 pm IST - Patna

A screengrab from the video showing a child tugging at a sheet covering the dead mother.

A screengrab from the video showing a child tugging at a sheet covering the dead mother.

The Patna High Court on Thursday took suo motucognisance of a video which on May 27 went viral on social media showing a baby playfully tugging a sheet partially covering his dead mother at the Muzaffarpur railway station in Bihar, and termed the incident “shocking and unfortunate”.

Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar took note of a news report, and said “this warrants intervention by us in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 226 and issue notice.”

The court also mentioned certain issues which would “warrant immediate attention” for its consideration. Like, whether the post-mortem 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 were her companions? What action was taken by the law enforcing agencies? Were the relatives of the deceased informed of the incident? Were the last rights of the deceased performed as per the custom, tradition and the instructions issued by the government? Who is now taking care of the children/sibling(s), who unfortunately lost their mother in these times of distress?

Amicus curiae appointed

The court appointed advocate Ashish Giri as amicus curiae and directed S.D. Yadav, Additional Advocate General-IX, who was present in the virtual court, to obtain instructions on all issues. The Central government, the Railways and the Bihar government and various departments of the State government were added as respondents. The court also asked the Bihar government counsel to ascertain if this particular incident was being considered by the Supreme Court in the suo motu petition before it. In response to queries from the court, the Additional Advocate-General said that “no information could be ascertained as the matter listed on the board, had yet not reached.” He said the “news report is partially incorrect. The deceased was mentally unstable and had died a natural death during the course of her journey from Surat [Gujarat].”

“The deceased, who had been deserted by her husband, had only one child. Md. Wazir [her brother-in-law — sister’s husband] brought her death to the notice of the railway authorities and after recording of his statement, the body was allowed to be taken home,” Mr. Yadav added.

He told the court that “no post-mortem was conducted and no FIR was registered. However, the district administration facilitated by providing an ambulance up to the place of destination. The orphaned child is in safe custody and guardianship of the sister of the deceased.”

“Even though the child is safe and secure, yet he shall personally pursue the matter with the authorities who would again reach out to the family, enquiring any need of assistance,” the Additional Advocate General told the court. Later the court ordered that all the complete facts be submitted in the form of affidavits by the concerned Principal Secretaries before June 3, the next date of hearing.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.