Jammu: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday recommended a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the families of 11 children who died due to consumption of spurious medicines in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district between December 2019 and January last year.
The NHRC ordered the compensation in favour of the victim families, observing that there is no denial of lapse in the case though the drugs department of Jammu and Kashmir does not want to “own the responsibility” for it.
The complaint with regard to the deaths of the infants, aged between one and four year, due to consumption of spurious drugs was lodged before the commission by prominent Jammu-based social activist Sukesh C Khajuria, following which the NHRC issued a show cause notice to the J&K government in September last year.
“The Commission has perused the record and replied to the show cause notice and observes that there is no denial of lapse in the case though the Drugs Department does not want to own the responsibility for it. The Commission is unable to accept this contention.
“The Commission has already found that there is a procedural lapse on the part of the Drug Department of Jammu and Kashmir wherein the authority has duly failed to keep a regular vigil on the contamination and contents of medicines sold within its jurisdiction,” Khajuria said quoting the NHRC order.
The Commission therefore reiterates that the state is vicariously liable for the said negligence and this is a fit case for award of compensation, he said.
Recommending the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary to pay monetary compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased who died due to the consumption of adulterated oral syrup and whose human rights have been infringed, the NHRC said, and asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to file the compliance report along with a proof of payment to it within six weeks, positively.
In response to the show cause notice, the additional secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir on November 27, stated that there is no scope of any complacency on the part of the State Drugs Control Department in discharging the various statutory duties assigned to it under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940.
“On the other hand, the manufacturing of quality drugs is primarily the responsibility of the manufacturing firm and the Drugs Control Department has already launched a formal complaint against the manufacturing firm before the competent court of law,” the order said.
It said the reply further states that the instant case involves a lapse, which has an exceptional genesis.
In his petition, Khajuria had sought intervention of the NHRC for action against the delinquent government officials and compensation to aggrieved families who have lost their children in different areas of Ramnagar tehsil of Udhampur district. PTI