Note:On November 23, 2008 ToxicsWatch Alliance had highlighted how Endosulfan in milk killed schoolkids in Ranchi, Jharkhand
NHRC sets asides the Jharkhand Government's stand: Asks to pay Rs. 10,000/- each to twenty students, victim of food poisoning
New Delhi, July 15th, 2010
The National Human Rights Commission has not accepted the plea of the Government of Jharkhand that it will not pay any compensation to the students of a Government run school, who were treated at the expense of the State Government after falling sick due to food poisoning. The Commission observed that the affected students had to undergo physical and mental torture due to food poisoning which occurred due to negligence of the school officials. Hence, the expenses incurred by the government on the treatment of these students cannot replace the compensation to which these students are entitled for violation of their human rights. Consequently, the objection was rejected and the Commission directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000/- to all the 20 students who fell sick due to food poisoning and were hospitalized.
The Commission had received a complaint dated the 16th January, 2009 from Mr. R.H. Bansal on the issue. Thereafter, a notice was issued to the District Magistrate, Ranchi, calling for the report in the matter. During subsequent proceedings, it was found that five hostellers of the Government Scheduled Tribes Residential High School of Bedo Block, Baridih, Ranchi in Jharkhand died and more than hundred fell sick due to food poisoning. An FIR No. 69/08 u/s 328/304/120B IPC was registered in this case at police station Bedo.
The Principal and the Superintendent of the Hostel alongwith two cooks were found negligent in the matter, and they were suspended by the State Government. A chargesheet was also filed against all the accused persons. The Deputy Secretary to the Government of Jharkhand, Home Department, informed the Commission that the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each had been paid to the next of kin of the five deceased students.
The Principal Secretary to the Government of Jharkhand vide his communication dated the 1st June, 2010, had opposed Commission's recommendations for grant of compensation to the others, who fell sick after consuming poisonous milk, on the ground that they were provided treatment by the State Government at the Apollo Hospital, hence there was no justification for grant of any monetary relief to them. However, rejecting the objection of the State Government, the Commission has directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand to pay Rs. 10,000/- each to the twenty students, and also sought compliance report along with a proof of payment within six weeks from the date of the receipt of its recommendation.