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Chamarajanagar deaths: HC says govt should have come to it before setting up probe body, appoints its own panel

While the inquiry commission appointed by the state was to submit its report in a month, the fact-finding committee of the Karnataka High Court has been given time till Monday.

By: Express Web Desk | Bangalore |
May 6, 2021 7:50:41 pm
chamrajnagar hospital deaths, karnataka hc chamrajnagar hospital deaths, Karataka govt chamrajnagar hospital deaths, chamrajnagar hospital deaths probe, chamrajnagar hospital deathsinquiry, indian expresss, karnataka covid newsRelatives grieve after 24 Covid-19 patients died allegedly due to shortage of oxygen, in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. (Photo: PTI)

After the Karnataka government appointed a one-man commission of a retired High Court judge to inquire into the 23 deaths in Chamarajanagar district hospital allegedly due to oxygen shortage on May 3, the Karnataka High Court has expressed displeasure over the state government’s ‘propriety’ in appointing a commission.

The Court on Wednesday deputed a fact-finding committee comprising two retired HC judges to look into the incident. The committee of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority has Justices AN Venugopala Gowda as chairman and KN Keshavanarayana as a member. A division bench headed by chief justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka passed an order to this effect

The state had Wednesday morning, in an order by the home department, appointed retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice BA Patil to carry out an inquiry into the Chamarajanagar tragedy. The order said the commission would submit its report within one month.

The fact-finding committee of the state High Court, on the other hand, has been given time till Monday to submit its report to the court.

The bench said that “propriety demanded that the state should have come before the court before appointing the commissioner.” The bench also directed the chief secretary of the state to immediately seize the hospital’s records on oxygen supply, and also the related records from Chamarajanagar and Mysuru deputy commissioners’ offices.
The panel constituted by the High Court has been directed to study the records and documents seized from the two district commissioner’s offices and submit the report by Monday.

On the day of the incident, the Chamarajanagar district sessions court judge Sadashiva S Sultanpuri visited the hospital to take stock of the situation and also spoke to the Chamarajanagar district commissioner MR Ravi.

The families of the patients who lost their lives have alleged that the deaths were because of a shortage of medical oxygen at the facility. The state government has claimed only three of the deaths occurred due to this reason.

Day after the incident, the Karnataka government had ordered a probe and appointed senior IAS officer Shivayogi Kalasad as the inquiry officer.

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