The Supreme Court on Friday said that it had become a habit for the Uttar Pradesh government to not take action on cases unless a contempt petition is filed, Live Law reported.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana was hearing a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government against an Allahabad High Court order.
The court had asked eight officials, including those from the chief minister’s office and the chief secretary, to find an 82-year-old coronavirus patient who allegedly went missing from a hospital.
The man, Ram Lal Yadav, is said to have gone missing from the TB Sapru Hospital in Prayagraj on May 8.
“Sorry to say, but this has become a habit of this State to not take action unless contempt is filed,” Chief Justice Ramana said, according to Bar and Bench.
Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, told the court that two Special Investigation Teams had been formed to look into the matter. The teams have also been tasked with checking whether Yadav had been illegally detained anywhere, she said.
Justice Krishna Murari said that before the patient went missing, his oxygen level was 82 and he was unable to walk. “How can he be missing?” he asked.
Prashad told the court that authorities had checked all the crematoriums in Prayagraj, but could not find him. She said that his health parameters were normal at the time of the last medical examination.
“That means he vanished into thin air!” Justice Murari remarked.
The additional advocate general said that the state government has taken action against all officials responsible for the patient.
The court asked Prashad if the Uttar Pradesh government had paid any compensation to Yadav’s family. In response, the law officer said that the government would be willing to pay compensation as per the directions of the court.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the respondents on the matter and stayed proceedings before the Allahabad High Court. It also told the state government to pay Rs 50,000 to Yadav’s family as an initial amount to cover their litigation expenses.