AES in Bihar: Providing all support to contain it, Centre tells Supreme Court

The Centre told the Supreme Court Wednesday that it was proactively providing all support to Bihar in containing and managing Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in which more than children have died.

In an affidavit filed on a plea seeking measures for containment of the disease, the Centre said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had visited Bihar on June 16, to review the situation in Muzaffarpur.

It said that after the visit several decisions were taken including construction of a 100 bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at SKMCH hospital in Muzaffarpur by the state government in one years from the funds of National Health Mission (NHM).

“The land for the same (100-bed Paediatric ICU) is available in the premise of the SKMCH hospital and will be provided by the state,” the affidavit said.

It said a decision has been taken to set up five virology labs in different districts of the state from the NHM funds and the location of the districts will be decided in consultation with the state government.

Detailing further decisions taken, the Centre said: “In the adjoining districts, 10-bed Paediatric ICUs to be setup so that such cases can be treated early and there is no unnecessary load on the facilities available at SKMCH. Funds for this are to be provided through NHM.”

The ministry said that to enable early detection and treatment of the hypoglycemia cases, a dedicated team of doctors will be placed in endemic Primary Health Centres with required facilities, at least for three-four months before and during expected onset of disease.

“As for present, the concerned PHCs and CHCs (Community Health Centres) should take prompt corrective measures for hypoglycemia at the facility itself to utilize the golden hour”, the affidavit said.

It said that a Super Speciality Block is being constructed at SKMCH hospital, Muzaffarpur and it would start functioning by first week of December.

Besides these steps, the affidavit said that Ministry of Earth Sciences has been requested to upgrade its IMD Observatory facility for improved monitoring of climate related parameters such as temperature humidity, rainfall and share it with the state government for better preparedness and management of AES.

It said the minister has decided to constitute inter-disciplinary, high quality research team for ascertaining the case of AES with specific reference to Muzaffarpur.

“The vacant positions of district epidemiologist and entomologist in Muzaffarpur to be filled up immediately by the state government,” the health ministry said added that health is a state subject as per the Constitutional provisions.

The apex court is hearing a petition filed by advocate Manohar Pratap who has said that he was deeply “pained and saddened” by the deaths of more than 126 children, mostly in the age group of one to 10 years, in Bihar due to AES.

Besides Centre, the apex court had also asked Bihar government to file its response on the issue.

In a shocking revelation about medical care facilities in Bihar, which is facing an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome, the state government Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there are only 5,205 doctors in government-run health centres against the sanctioned strength of 12,206.

The state government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, said that only 5,634 nurses were there in government run hospitals and health centres against sanctioned strength of 19,155.

The court had on June 24 directed the state to apprise it about the status of public medical care facilities, nutrition and sanitation within a week in view of deaths of over 100 children in Muzaffarpur due to the outbreak of AES.

Regarding AES cases, the state government said 824 cases have been reported and the number of deaths was 157.

It, however, said that it was not known whether 24 deaths out of 215 cases were due to AES.

“State of Bihar had already taken all possible steps to prevent the spread of the disease by providing additional medical facilities at the affected region, public awareness campaign at the village level, involving various agencies to assist the government etc,” it said.

Symptoms of AES include high fever, convulsions and extremely low blood sugar levels. Among the factors said to trigger the syndrome are malnutrition.

There were more than 44,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths from encephalitis in India between 2008 and 2014, said a 2017 study published in The Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR).

Researchers said the patients often report acute onset of fever and altered consciousness, with a rapidly deteriorating clinical course, leading to death within hours.

Litchis grown in Muzaffarpur, the country’s largest litchi cultivation region, are said to contain a toxin which can cause a drop in blood sugar levels if consumed by a malnourished child.

Supreme Court to hear plea seeking formation of team for treatment of kids affected by encephalitis in Bihar

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to urgently constitute a team of medical experts for the treatment of the children in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, who are suffering from suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), which has claimed more than 100 lives.

A vacation bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to hear the plea next Monday after the petitioner’s counsel sought an urgent listing of the matter.

The plea also sought a direction to the Centre for providing all necessary medical equipment and other supports for the effective treatment of the children suffering from the epidemic disease.

The petition filed by advocate Manohar Pratap claimed that he was deeply pained and saddened by the deaths of more than 126 children, mostly in the age group of one to 10 years, in the past week and the figures were rising day by day.

SC rejects plea alleging atrocities by police

SC rejects plea alleging atrocities by police
SC rejects plea alleging atrocities by police

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by a Bihar resident, who has claimed atrocities by police and alleging that he was branded a terrorist or naxalite and his mobile phone put on surveillance.

The apex court rejected his appeal against the order of the Patna High Court in November last year observing that the view of the high court that the petitioner had levelled allegations whose veracity cannot be examined in a writ petition, was “without blemish”.

“The high court has dismissed the writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution with the observations that the petitioner has levelled allegations, veracity whereof cannot be examined in the writ petition,” a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.

“It is also mentioned that most of the allegations did not pertain to incidents in the state of Bihar and these allegations could not be examined in the writ jurisdiction of the high court,” the bench noted in its order.

The petitioner, a resident of Begusarai district in Bihar, had approached the apex court challenging the high court order dismissing his plea seeking directions to telecom operators and banks to stop alleged surveillance of his mobile number and bank account.

He had claimed in the high court that Delhi Police had put his mobile number on surveillance, was following him from time to time and interrogating him. He had also contended that he was defamed and branded a terrotist or a naxalite by another person.

The man had claimed that he was beaten up in March 2014 by the police and had sought a compensation on the ground that he had lost almost five years of his life due to the atrocities he has faced.

The high court had dismissed his plea saying he had effective alternate remedies under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The apex court, while concurring with the observations of the high court, said, “The aforesaid view taken by the high court is without blemish. Therefore, this special leave petition is dismissed”.

“However, having regard to the aforesaid observations made by the high court, it would be open to the petitioner to file civil suit or criminal proceedings as advised under the law,” the bench said.

( Source – PTI )

SC closes PIL on fund misuse in Indira Awas Yojna in Bihar

SC closes PIL on fund misuse in Indira Awas Yojna in Bihar
SC closes PIL on fund misuse in Indira Awas Yojna in Bihar

The Supreme Court today brought the curtains down on a plea seeking CBI probe into allegations brought out in a 2011 CAG report regarding gross misuse of public funds in the implementation of Indira Awas Yojna in Bihar.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of the stand of the Centre that the report of the Comptroller General of India has been considered by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

The committee did not find anything wrong and the matter rests there, Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, said adding that the government has no role in the process.

Initially, the bench observed the matter should be taken to the logical end and enquired from the law officer about the procedures being adopted after the CAG submits the report.

Then bench agreed with the Centre’s stand and disposed of the PIL saying “now nothing survives in it”.

Earlier in 2013, the apex court had issued notice to the the Centre and the Bihar government on the PIL filed by advocate Md Shahid Anwar.

It was alleged that there was misuse of public funds in the implementation of the scheme meant to provide houses to the poor.

The PIL had sought a direction to ensure “proper implementation” of the scheme as there has been allegations by the CAG that there was gross misuse of public funds by the government officials.

The PIL had alleged connivance of political and executive functionaries with the businessmen in the implementation of the scheme, 75 per cent of which is funded by the Centre and 25 per cent by the state government.

Referring to the CAG report, it had said, “Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) funds of Rs 325.35 crores were not deposited in separate bank accounts of IAY but were deposited in general bank account of block offices in disregard to scheme guidelines.”

The PIL had also referred to various issues raised by the CAG in its report on the issue.

It had said that presently, CAG does not have power to seek records from pubic bodies which accounts are being audited and the law should be changed to give more powers to the top auditing body.

( Source – PTI )

SC allows Bihar liquor firms to dispose stock outside state

SC allows Bihar liquor firms to dispose stock outside state
SC allows Bihar liquor firms to dispose stock outside state

The Supreme Court today granted time till July 31 to liquor manufacturers and sellers in Bihar to dispose of their existing stock outside the state.

The Nitish Kumar government had imposed a complete ban on liquor in Bihar from April 1, 2016.

A vacation bench headed by Justice A K Sikri considered the submission of the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies that they are facing huge economic loss in view of the ban imposed in the state on sale of alcoholic beverages.

It has been submitted by the Confederation that the existing stock of liquor is of value of almost Rs 200 crore and the firms be allowed to dispose of the stock in other states where liquor is not banned.

The court agreed to the contention and granted time till July 31 to the confederation for getting rid of their existing stock.

( Source – PTI )

Anant Singh gets bail in Manjhi case, but will stay in jail

Anant Singh gets bail in Manjhi case, but will stay in jail
Anant Singh gets bail in Manjhi case, but will stay in jail

Independent MLA Anant Singh was today granted bail by a local court in a case charging him with making derogatory and casteist remarks against the then Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi two years ago.

Singh, however, cannot come out of jail for now as he is facing other cases as well.

Additional District and Sessions Judge-I Sachchidanand Singh passed the order on a bail application moved by the MLA from Mokama last week.

Singh had allegedly made the derogatory and casteist remarks against Manjhi a few days before the latter resigned on February 20, 2015.

Manjhi had quit ahead of the trust vote due to imminent defeat.

The then chief minister’s nephew Upendra Manjhi had lodged an FIR against Singh, who was a JD(U) MLA at that time, under various sections of the IPC and SC/ST Act at Khijarsarai police station in Gaya district.

Singh, a three-term MLA from Mokama constituency in Patna district, is currently in Beur jail in Patna.

( Source – PTI )

Bihar-based university asked to pay for cancelling MBA course

Bihar-based university asked to pay for cancelling MBA course
Bihar-based university asked to pay for cancelling MBA course

The apex consumer commission has held a university in Bihar guilty of making an applicant suffer by “unauthorisedly” initiating an MBA course and then cancelling it.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), however, reduced the amount of Rs 4.5 lakh awarded to the man as compensation for loss of career opportunity by a district forum to Rs 25,000, saying “it was a correspondence course, and therefore, loss of employment is not expected.”

“The compensation of Rs 4 lakh awarded by district forum is quite excessive and the forum has not given any reasoning to allow this compensation…

“It was a correspondence course and therefore, loss of employment is not expected. There are no averments that the complainant was employed somewhere and left the job for pursuing his MBA through distance education,” the NCDRC bench of presiding member Rekha Gupta and member Prem Narain said.

It further said, “However, it is also true that the complainant had suffered due to unauthorised advertisement by the respondents and later on the cancellation of the said course. In the circumstances, we are of the view that a compensation of Rs 25,000 would be reasonable and sufficient.”

The NCDRC’s order came on an appeal by Ajay Kumar who had applied for Master of Business Administration in 1998 through distant learning at L N Mithila University in Darbhanga but two years later found out that the university had cancelled the course.

A district forum had allowed his complaint and granted him monetary relief of Rs 4 lakh towards loss of career opportunity and Rs 50,000 for mental harassment.

This order was set aside by the state commission which had found the university innocent considering that it had to withdraw the course as it did not get permission from the state government.

Kumar had then moved the NCDRC which partly allowed his plea and said, “First of all, it seems that the course was cancelled due to the fact that state government did not give the permission to start this course. It simply means that the course was unauthorisedly initiated and advertised by the opposite party (university).”

“This was only administrative decision of the university to start this course for the purpose best known to them for which no rules were followed. Thus, the complainant/petitioner would be considered ‘consumer’ within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act, 1986,” it said.

During the proceedings, the university had denied the allegations and said the man never deposited the original receipt and hence the fee could not be refunded.

( Source – PTI )

SC to examine plea for lodging FIR against Lalu’s minister son

SC to examine plea for lodging FIR against Lalu's minister son
SC to examine plea for lodging FIR against Lalu’s minister son

The Supreme Court will examine a plea seeking lodging of FIR against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s son and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav, whose photograph was published in media with an alleged sharp shooter close to jailed leader Mohammad Shahabuddin.

The apex court, which today ordered shifting of Shahabuddin from Bihar’s Siwan prison to Tihar Jail here to ensure free and fair trial in the cases lodged against him, kept the issue of Tej Pratap pending and said it will hear the arguments on April 21.

“Similarly, writ petition…also stands disposed of except for the prayer seeking direction to register FIR against Tej Pratap Yadav, Health Minster of Bihar and SP, police of Siwan District, for which the matter be listed for further hearing at 2 PM on April 21,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said.

Asha Ranjan, the wife of scribe Rajdeo Ranjan who was murdered in Siwan in May last year, has sought a direction for registration of FIR against Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap for “conspiracy and harbouring and sheltering the proclaimed offenders” in the murder case.

Her counsel had alleged in the court that in September last year, she had seen the pictures of accused Mohammed Kaif and Mohammad Javed, who were absconding at that time, with Tej Pratap on news channels.

The bench on January 17 had said that the petitioner’s request to direct lodging of FIR against Shahabuddin and Yadav would be dealt with separately.

( Source – PTI )

13 get rigorous life imprisonment in murder case

13 get rigorous life imprisonment in murder case
13 get rigorous life imprisonment in murder case

A court in Bihar’s Darbhanga district today awarded rigorous life imprisonment to 13 persons and imposed a penalty of Rs 21,000 on each after finding them guilty of killing a villager three years ago.

Additional Districts and Sessions Judge (ADJ) – IV Brajesh Kumar Malviya passed the order convicting all 13 in the murder of Mahavir Yadav.

According to the Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Anil Kumar Singh, Yadav was hacked to death in gruesome manner by the convicts Ram Shobhit Yadav and others while he was returning to his house in Baggha village on July 27, 2013.

Property dispute was stated to be the motive behind Yadav’s murder.

The victim’s elder brother, Jaiveer Yadav, had lodged an FIR against 13 persons charging them with the murder of his younger brother.

( Source – PTI )

15 convicted, 23 others acquitted in Senari massacre case

15 convicted, 23 others acquitted in Senari massacre case
15 convicted, 23 others acquitted in Senari massacre case

A Bihar court today convicted 15 persons and acquitted 23 others for lack of evidence in the sensational massacre of 34 people of a particular caste by the outlawed Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) ultras 17 years ago.

Additional District Judge (ADJ)-III Ranjit Kumar Singh passed the order convicting the 15 persons under relevant sections of the law and acquitted 23 others for want of evidence against them in the Senari massacre case.

The judge will pronounce the quantum of punishment against the convicts on November 15.

According to the prosecution, the MCC ultras had on March 18, 1999 killed 34 persons of a particular caste by slitting their throats with sharp objects after forcing them to gather near Thakurbari in Senari village under Karpi police station area which was then part of Jehanabad district, now under the jurisdiction of Arwal district.

Seven other persons had sustained injuries in the incident.

A woman Chintamani Devi, whose husband and son were among those masscred by the MCC ultras, was an informer in the Senari massacre case, the prosecution had said.

The police had subsequently lodged an FIR against one Vyas Yadav alias Naresh Yadav and 500 unidentified persons.

The charge sheet was filed against 74 accused persons in 2002 and the trial was held against 56 persons as 18 others were absconding. Charges were later framed against 45 accused persons, two of whom died during pendency of the case, while five others went missing.

( Source – PTI )