The Jharkhand High Court has pulled up the management of the hospital where Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand was taken after being hit by an auto-rickshaw last month for the delay in informing the police about the incident, Live Law.

The judge was out jogging on July 28 when he was allegedly murdered. CCTV footage of the incident showed an auto-rickshaw suddenly swerving towards Anand, who was walking on an empty road, and hitting him. The vehicle, which was reportedly stolen, then drove away.

The Central Bureau of investigation took over the case on August 4. Five days after that, the Supreme Court directed the agency to submit weekly reports to the Jharkhand High Court on the progress of the investigation.

After reading one such report, Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad pointed out on August 19 that the judge was brought to the hospital at 5.30 am and died at 9 am, but the police were told about the incident only at 11.45 am.

The judges sought an explanation for why the doctor who attended to Anand or the hospital management were negligent in their duties, according to Live Law. They asked the Jharkhand government’s lawyer to inform them about what action had been taken against the hospital authorities.

During the hearing, the High Court also took note of the fact that the Forensic Science Laboratory in Ranchi did not have the facility to test the blood and urine samples of the accused – the driver of the auto-rickshaw and his associate. The samples were sent to Delhi.

“We have consider it very seriously that when the urine and blood testing facility of the accused is not available in the FSL [Forensic Science Laboratory] Ranchi, the capital of the state of Jharkhand, then for what purpose this department of state is functioning?” the judges asked.

They added: “Even after more than twenty years from the date of its creation, the state FSL Ranchi appears to be still in primitive stage.”

The judges then asked the director of the laboratory and state government officials to be present at the next virtual hearing in the case on August 27.

Anand, the Dhanbad additional sessions judge, had been hearing the murder case of Ranjay Singh, who was a close confidante of former Jharia MLA Sanjiv Singh. He had also denied bail to Ravi Thakur, a protégé of infamous Uttar Pradesh shooter Abhinav Singh and Aman Singh, just three days before his death.

On July 30, the Supreme Court also took note of his alleged murder, saying that it had wider ramifications. “We are getting reports that judicial officers are being attacked around the country,” Chief Justice NV Ramana had said. “We intend to examine this and may seek report from all states.”