HC transfers probe to Amritsar police commissioner, sets one month deadline

In the matter of swapping of bodies of Covid-19 patients at an Amritsar hospital, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Friday transferred the inquiry pending before SDM, Amritsar-II, to the Commissioner of Police, Amritsar, forthwith.

The bench of Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill ordered that the Commissioner of Police, Amritsar, will conduct a detailed inquiry into the matter of swapping of dead bodies of Covid-19 patients at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, and the alleged transplantation of organs of Covid-19 patients to the non-Covid patients. “The inquiry be concluded within a period of one month and report be submitted to this court,” held Justice Gill in the order.

Earlier in the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the counsel for petitioners, Gurcharanjit Singh and Dalbir Singh, contended that the petitioners are sanguine and hopeful that their father is still alive undergoing treatment in the hospital, while the enormity of the disease is such that in this atmosphere of fear and danger, even the health authorities are not sure as to what is to be done with the Covid-19 patients. The petitioners further argued that the unscrupulous and bad elements were hand in glove with hospital authorities and were involved in the business of transplanting of the organs of the dead bodies of Covid-19 effected patients to the other patients admitted in the hospitals.

Regarding the SDM inquiry, the petitioners stated that the inquiry being conducted by the SDM, Amritsar-II, was going at a snail’s pace and with the administrative authorities already over-burdened, there were no chances of such inquiry proceedings coming to a logical end any time soon. They prayed for inquiry by some independent agency.

The state, however, submitted that the SDM, Amritsar-II, was conducting the inquiry and once the inquiry report is submitted, necessary and appropriate action would be taken against the guilty persons.

After hearing the arguments, the HC bench said in its order: “There is a well-known adage that people may lie, but the facts do not. In this case, the allegations regarding the swapping of the dead bodies are, prima facie, established. There is nothing to the contrary in the short report submitted by the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar. By observing as such, this court is not commenting upon the dedication, devotion, faithfulness towards the duties and integrity of the hospital staff, but the fact remains that some negligence seems to have been done at some level and the same is required to be fixed.”

The bench further stated that in normal circumstances, the court would have waited for the SDM, Amritsar-II, to conclude the inquiry proceedings and submit his report, however, this it is also conscious of the fact that there are widespread reports in the print and electronic media regarding the racket involved in transplanting the organs of the dead bodies, including the Covid-19 fatalities.

“This is a serious cause of concern and needs to be properly addressed,” the court said while traferring the case to the police commissioner.

The petitioners, two brothers from Hoshiarpur, had moved to HC after the mortal remains of their father, a Covid-19 victim, were switched with that of a woman at the hospital in July.

Leave a Reply