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"Let needful be done within next two working days": Patna HC Directs District Commissioners of Buxar & Kaimur on disposal of the dead bodies found in Ganga amid the second Covid wave

On Wednesday, 12 May, 2021, the Patna HC sought response of Commissioner of the Districts Buxar and Kaimur with regard to disposal of the dead bodies found flowing in the river Ganga in view of the second Covid wave. 

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar directed, "The affidavit of the Commissioner of the District Buxar and Kaimur with regard to disposal of the bodies found flowing in the river Ganga be positively filed within next two working days."

The Advocate General appearing for the State Government apprised the Court that the authorities have already initiated action in disposing of the bodies found flowing in the river Ganga at the two districts namely Buxar and Kaimur. It was also informed that the Commissioner of the said Districts shall file his personal affidavit on this issue. The bench ordered, "Let needful be done within next two working days." 

In an important observation, the Court had also observed that government hospitals, medical officers are duty bound to extend medical assistance and failure on the part of even private hospitals to provide timely medical treatment to a person in need of such treatment results in a violation of his right to life guaranteed under Article 21. 

The Court said, "Article 21 imposes an obligation on the State to safeguard the right to life of every person. Preservation of human life is thus of paramount importance. The government hospitals run by the State and the medical officers employed therein are duty-bound to extend medical assistance for preserving human life. Failure on the part of a government hospital to provide timely medical treatment to a person in need of such treatment results in a violation of his right to life guaranteed under Article 21."

The development came while the Court issued slew of directions in a clutch of petitions concerning the Covid 19 situation in the State and also highlighting the issues regarding availability of medical infrastructure, covid medicines and dearth of oxygen supply.

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