The Madras High Court while dealing with a Habeus Corpus Petition filed by the petitioner to produce the body of his 74-year-old missing father hospitalised for COVID treatment in the year 2020 has directed the State Government to pay Rupees 1 lakh to the family.

The Bench of Justice P.N. Prakash and Justice N. Anand Venkatesh ordered –

"Taking into consideration the overall fact situation, we do not want to be too harsh on the State Government and instead, on humanitarian ground, we direct the State to pay a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- [Rupees One Lakh only] as compensation to the family of Adikesavan within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order."

The Bench also directed that the inspector of police of Chennai shall continue with the investigation and take effective steps to find the whereabouts of the missing father of the petitioner.

Advocate A. Yogeshwaran appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate R. Muniyapparaj appeared for the respondents.

Facts of the Case –

The father of the petitioner named Adikesavan aged around 72 years, a bangle seller was living with his wife and had three sons and one daughter who were living separately. In the year 2020, Adikesavan was feeling a little unwell and therefore, he went to the nearby Primary Health Centre and undertook a Covid-19 test. The next day he was informed that he was tested positive. In accordance with the protocol established by the Government, the Corporation authorities were alerted and one Sanitary Inspector went to the residence of Adikesavan on and made arrangements for taking him to Ekkattuthangal Urban Primary Health Centre for further screening. At the screening centre, he was subjected to various medical examinations and the doctors there felt that home quarantine would not be advisable for him and referred him to Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital for admission and treatment. Thereafter, the family members lost track of Adikesavan as he did not have a mobile phone.

The family could not find Adikesavan at the screening centre as well as the hospital. The petitioner tried to lodge FIR but the police officers refused to do the same. However, afterward, the FIR was registered after persuasion. The case came up for hearing thereafter on various occasions and the fact remains that till date, the missing person Adikesavan has not been traced either dead or alive and the stalemate continues. Hence, the petitioner approached the High Court in this matter.

The High Court after hearing the contentions, noted, "We do appreciate the fact that the State of Tamil Nadu and the Greater Chennai Corporation were doing their best to fight the Covid-19 war. Therefore, we cannot fix the blame on any single officer for the lapse. However, it would have been in the fitness of things, if the Inspector of Police, S1, St.Thomas Mount Police Station, had registered a regular First Information Report of 'man-missing' when the complaint was given to him on 17.06.2020 itself. Instead, the family was made to run from pillar to post and ultimately, after great persuasion, the First Information Report in Crime No.458 of 2020 was registered by the Inspector of Police, G3 Kilpauk Police Station, only on 23.06.2020."

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition.

Cause Title - Thulasidass Adikesavan v. The Inspector of Police, S-1, St.Thomas Mount Police Station and Ors.

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