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MP HC recalls its contempt order against ACS health, two officers on Bhopal gas victims’ med care

Mar 11,2024

Bhopal: A division bench of MP high court recalled its order passed on November 28, 2023, on a contempt petition in which it had held the additional chief secretary, health & gas relief, Mohd Suleman and two officials of National Informatics Centre (NIC) prima facie guilty of contempt and asked for framing of charges against rest of the respondents for non-compliance of the supreme court order of August, 2012 and subsequent directions of the MP high court issued from time to time for better medical care of Bhopal gas victims.

The bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Vinay Saraf said that the order is being recalled on the sole ground that the contempt alleged was of civil nature and not of criminal nature, where charges need to be framed.

The court further said that after an overall assessment of the entire scenario, which is prevailing in the instant case and the connected matters, instead of adjudicating upon contemnors being guilty for punishment or not, it would be appropriate that assistance of the Monitoring Committee is sought.

It is thus directed that each respondent or his/her representative, who should not be below the rank of class-1 gazette centetted officer should appear on the next date of meeting of the Monitoring Committee to enable the Monitoring Committee to assess present state and extent of compliance of order of the supreme court dated 09.08.2012 and various directions passed by this court and thereafter prepare report under various heads showing compliance/non compliance The Monitoring Committee is requested to assist this court by submitting report as enumerated above as expeditiously as possible list in the third week of April, 2024.

The supreme court in its order of August 2012, had constituted a monitoring committee headed by retired judge of MP high court Justice V K Agrawal to keep a watch on medical facilities being provided to Bhopal gas victims in gas relief hospitals and later also brought Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre (BMHRC) under its jurisdiction.

The committee was asked to submit a quarterly report to the bench of MP high court which hears the PIL on proper medical care of gas victims which the apex court had transferred to the MP high court after its order of August 2012, enumerating 20 points to ensure a proper medical care of gas victims.

The NGOs working among the gas victims led by Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan and Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti had filed the contempt petition against concerned officials of the state/central government alleging non-compliance of the supreme court order of 2012 and subsequent directions of the high court on the PIL.

The officers made respondents in the case against whom action for contempt of court was proposed included Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, ministry of health & family welfare, Govt of India, Arti Ahuja, secretary, ministry of chemical & fertilisers, Govt of India, Iqbal Singh Bains, former chief secretary, govt of MP, Mohd Suleman, secretary gas relief, govt of MP, R Rama Krishnan, senior deputy director general, ICMR, Dr Prabha Desikan, director, BMHRC, Dr Rajnarayan Tiwari, director, NIREH, Bhopal, Amar Kumar Sinha, state Information officer, NIC, and Vijay Kumar Vishwakarma, also state information officer, NIC, Bhopal.

Source: Healthworld

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