The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday rapped the Punjab government as instead of the hospital authorities or district administration, the state police filed a reply in a case filed by two brothers seeking whereabouts of their nonagenarian father, who was declared dead by state-run hospital in Amritsar last week but later the mortal remains of a woman were sent to his family.
The Amritsar police in a reply, while quoting an order passed by the District Magistrate, told the court that the “body of Late Sh. Pritam Singh” was to be sent to his native district Hoshiarpur from Guru Nanak Dev hospital, Amritsar for carrying out the last rites but “it has been reported that on 18.07.2020” in place of his body, the body of some other deceased was sent to the district.
The DM has taken into consideration the serious lapse and ordered a magisterial inquiry to ascertain the truth as well as fix the responsibility in the matter, the police said. The inquiry is to be conducted by Dr (Maj) Shivraj Singh Bal, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Amritsar II.
The police in the reply described the case as “the incident of swapping the dead body of the Late father of the petitioners with dead body of some other patient”. The petitioners in the habeas corpus have said they are hopeful their father is still alive .
During the hearing, the Punjab government was questioned by the court for lack of response from the hospital authorities and also the state authorities. The matter has now been listed for hearing on July 24 for a detailed report from the state. The court also reprimanded the state for not making it clear that whether Pritam Singh is alive or not.
According to the petition filed by the brothers Gurcharanjit Singh and Dalbir Singh, it was on July 1 that Pritam Singh tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted the next day at a Corona Isolation Centre established at Rayat Bahara University in Hoshiarpur. He as well his son Dalbir Singh, who also had tested positive, were shifted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar on July 5, as their condition deteriorated, and remained admitted to the same ward.
The tragedy for the family, as per their counsel Rajiv Malhotra and Satinderdeep Singh Boparai, began after Pritam Singh was shifted to ICU. On July 13, Dalbir Singh was told that his father had died on July 11. However, the news turned out to be false as Pritam Singh was found to be alive. Dalbir Singh was discharged the same day, without any test, after he had an argument with the medical authorities over the misinformation, as per his counsels.
However, it was not the end of the ordeal for the family. The court Monday was informed that the family on July 18 received information that their father breathed his last at 11pm on July 17. When the family received the mortal remains, the body was found to be of a woman Padma. The body was later shifted to a mortuary at Mukerian.
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