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Supreme Court reprimands U.P. government over missing COVID-19 patient

 A view of Supreme Court of Inida, in New Delhi

A view of Supreme Court of Inida, in New Delhi | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Supreme Court on Friday admonished the Uttar Pradesh government for its inability to find out the whereabouts of an octogenarian COVID-19 patient who disappeared from a hospital ward at Prayagraj in May last year.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said it has become a “habit” for the State to wake up only when contempt action stared down at it.

The State government had moved the top court after the Allahabad High Court took it to task while hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by the son of the missing senior citizen.

The High Court had directed the State in April to produce the missing man on May 6, failing which the State’s officers were asked to be personally present in court.

Aggrieved, the State government and several officials moved the Supreme Court, asking how they were expected to produce a man who has been missing for over a year.

“How can he be missing? He was unable to walk! He was in a hospital!” the court asked the State government’s lawyers.

Justice Hima Kohli, on the Bench, asked the State to consider the agony of the man’s family.

“It has been a year since he has been missing. Imagine the family’s desperation,” Justice Kohli observed.

The court issued notice in the case. The State has argued that the tragic incident happened during the peak days of the pandemic when hospital resources were stretched and medical personnel were working under stress. It said efforts were on to trace the man, including the formation of special investigation teams and outreach through media and the Internet.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 1:46:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/supreme-court-reprimands-up-government-over-missing-covid-19-patient/article65389515.ece