The Calcutta High Court ordered a second post-mortem on the body of a Pregnant Woman in the case of Sankar Ruidas Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors.
By: Megha Ravindran, BBA LLB, Nehru Academy of Law.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee was the bench who ordered the second autopsy.
Brief of the case
The bench was hearing the plea of the father of a lady who is 19 years old and was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. On April 14, 2020, she was admitted to Sub-divisional Hospital due to malnutrition and poor health condition.
She underwent a COVID Test in Sanjiban Hospital and after being tested, she was requested to return to the Uluberia SD Hospital. Sanjiban Hospital submitted the test result and the result was negative. The woman died on April 20, 2020. Uluberia Hospital filed the report that the woman died due to malnutrition and related complications.
The father of the woman said that media reports show that her daughter delivered a child at Sanjiban Hospital but the Court couldn’t find that and the State expressed that she did not deliver any child at Uluberia Hospital.
Observation of the court
After observing the facts, the bench observed she weighed 41kg at the time when she was admitted to the Hospital but the post-mortem report indicates she was 25kg, so it is unbelievable that she lost 16kg within four days and also the post-mortem report does not mention that the woman carried a fetus.
The court directed that the body of the woman must be preserved in the same state as now and a second post-mortem should be conducted within 48 hours at R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital and also directed to conduct a DNA test.
The court further ordered to collect DNA samples from the close relatives of her for verifying the lifeless body preserved in the Uluberia Hospital mortuary is that particular lady.
The court also ordered the Directors to show cause as to why appropriate steps, including in contempt, should not be taken against them for failing to file a report despite the clear directions issued by the order dated August 4, 2020.
The bench clearly stated that she was a citizen of India and she is from a poor family, so her family may not able to provide the basic facilities that she needed during pregnancy. So at least in death, she is entitled to get some dignity as every citizen blessed by our glorious Constitution deserves.