Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 5:
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today sent a final reminder to the chief secretary of Odisha to compensate the next of kin (NOK) in the class-II student Sony Pradhan death case and threatened of coercive action if the direction is not carried out.
The Commission had earlier directed the chief secretaryto pay Rs 3 Lakh as monetary compensation to the next of kin of the deceased. It had asked the chief scertary to submit proof of payment along with the compliance report within six months. A reminder to submit these documents was sent again on September 12, 2014.
Displeased over the negligence of the state government, NHRC wrote, “Let a final reminder be issued to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha, to submit the compliance report along with proof of payment as per the directions of the Commission dated August 13, 2014 within six weeks positively, failing which the Commission shall be constrained to issue coercive process u/s 13 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.”
It may be noted that seven year old Sony Pradhan, a student of class-II in Uttarhana UGME School under Chandanpur police station in Puri district was injured when a big almirah kept in the classroom fell on her on July 29, 2013. She was first taken to the local government hospital from where she was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack after her condition deteriorated. She succumbed to her injuries at the SCB medical on August 2, 2013.
The intervention of the NHRC was sought for an independent inquiry and compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs to the family members of the diseased by lawyer and human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das on August 5, 2013. Two more complaints were received by NHRC on the issue later.
Following these complaints, the NHRC issued a show cause notice to the Government of Odisha, through the Chief Secretary, as to why monetary relief of Rs.3,00,000/- u/s 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will not be recommended to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased.
In response, the Joint Secretary, Department of School and Mass Education, Government of Odisha, submitted a reply in which he said that the death of the 7 year old student in the school was an accident. The reply read, “The report submitted by the State Authorities has not disputed the Commission’s show cause notice for grant of monetary relief of Rs. 3 lakh u/s 18 of the PHR Act.”