Daily Archives: April 25, 2012

HC asks govt to compensate faulty eye-surgery victims

The Orissa high court on Tuesday directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to persons who had lost their vision completely, and Rs 1.75 lakh to those who lost their eyesight partially after undergoing faulty cataract surgery at theDharamgarh Sub-Divisional Hospital in Kalahandi in September 2010.

A division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra directed the state government to pay the amount to the 16 victims at the earliest. It has also asked the government to conduct a probe into the incident by a secretary-rank officer.

The direction came in response to a PIL filed by human rights activist Prabir Das alleging that 16 persons had lost their eyesight after undergoing cataract operation at a free eye camp organized by a Sambalpur-based NGO, JMJ Grace vision, at the sub-divisional hospital. The petitioner had sought compensation for the victims who lost their eyesight due to alleged negligence of the authorities.

“The high court has provided justice to the poor victims who lost their eyesight,” said petitioner Prabir Das.

The bench also said that if the probe finds the NGO responsible for the defective surgery, the entire compensation amount would be recovered from it. Along with it, the court has also fixed certain guidelines to be followed before organizing such cataract surgery camps in the state. The bench has stated that the organizations adequately equipped with proper infrastructure and efficient doctors should only be allowed to conduct cataract surgery camps. The bench has directed the state government to monitor the pre and post operative care of the patients.

Sambalpur collector alleges molestation bid by lawyers

Sambalpur district collectorMrinalini Darswal has said in her complaint lawyers had attempted to outrage her modesty during Monday’s mayhem before police rescued her. The lawyers, on the other hand, have denied the allegations and decided to observe “Sambalpur Bandh” on Wednesday in protest against the incident and demanding the ouster of the collector.

“They (lawyers) were prevented from physically manhandling and molesting me by additional superintendent of police D K Deo who arrived at the spot at that moment,” the district collector wrote in her complaint lodged with the town police station.

“They threatened to molest me publicly and to parade me on the roads to teach me a lesson,” she has added.

Darswal has named 16 lawyers in her complaint. She said the lawyers had chased her and started pelting stones at her. “Some of these (stones) hit me at my head, stomach, back and other body parts. Some of them tried to grab me from behind,” she complained, adding “they threatened to lynch me and set me on fire.”

The collector has also stated that the lawyers called her a Maoist. “They threw chairs at me and kicked me and blocked my way so that they could assault me physically,” she wrote.

The collector has also mentioned in her FIR that she was worried about her two children who were extremely scared by the attack of the lawyers who damaged her vehicles and property by hurling stones and bricks.

The lawyers, however, refuted the collector’s allegations. “No one ever uttered any such word as molestation. Rather, she abused us by using all possible fifthly language for we demanded an apology in public for using such words on lawyers,” Sambalpur Bar president Pramod Rath said on Tuesday.

Police booked the lawyer under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (obscene act), 336 (endangering life), 307 (attempt to murder), 355 (assault with intent to dishonour a person), 427 (mischief), 452 (house trespass after assault), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal code. Police also registered a case against the collector under sections 448 (house trespass) of the IPC and the SC/ST Act, based on the lawyers’ complaint.

Meanwhile, the lawyers organized a bike rally “to make people aware of their concern for the district.” “Everyone knows how lawyers are fighting for the people’s cause,” Rath said on Tuesday. The members of the bar association have also convened an all-party meeting.

CB to probe lawyers-Collector scuffle

A day after Sambalpur Collector Mrinalini Darswal was allegedly assaulted and abused by lawyers, the State Government ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident.

On Tuesday, district officials took out a rally protesting the assault. Led by ADM MD Bariha, they went to the office of the RDC (north) Kishore Chandra Barik where they submitted a memorandum.In the memorandum, the officials condemned the behaviour? of lawyers and demanded immediate action against them, including cancellation of their licences. Later, they held a meeting at the collectorate wherein it was resolved to resort to cease work if visible action against the lawyers was not taken.

On the other hand, members of Sambalpur District Bar Association (SDBA) called for Sambalpur bandh on Wednesday protesting “high-handedness” of the Collector. They also demanded her immediate suspension and transfer.

Speaking to mediapersons, SDBA president? Pramod Rath said that all business and commercial establishments, financial institutions and government offices will be closed down and vehicles won’t be allowed to ply. However, vehicles carrying students appearing for examinations and essential services, including railways, will be exempted.

Elaborating on her “high-handedness”, Rath said under Darswal funds were being forcibly raised for Red Cross Society and many people victimised.

HC awards compensation to 25 victims

In a significant judgement, the Orissa High Court on Tuesday directed the State Government to pay compensation to 25 persons who lost their eyesight (fully and partly) following a cataract surgery camp at Dharamgarh in Kalahandi district in 2010.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has awarded Rs 2.5 lakh compensation to each of the 16 victims, who had lost their vision completely, and Rs? 1.75 lakh each to the rest who reported loss of eyesight to serious grades.

The Bench has also directed an inquiry by an officer not below the rank of a secretary into the functioning of the eye camp to find out the persons responsible for the incident and fix responsibility on the NGO which conducted the camp. The State Government will have the liberty to recover the amount from the NGO on the basis of the probe.

GUIDELINES: The Bench has also issued certain guidelines on conduct of such eye camps by NGOs in the State. The camps would be conducted under direct supervision and monitoring of the Government. The operations and treatment should be performed by experts with complete pre and post-operative care for the patients, the guideline stipulated.

The directives came in response to a PIL writ petition, filed by advocate and human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das, who alleged that 16 persons had gone blind due to faulty cataract surgery in an eye camp held by Sambalpur-based NGO JMJ Grace Vision at Dharamgarh sub-divisional hospital in Kalahandi district in September 2010.

An inquiry was earlier ordered by the Court which concluded that the patients had? lost eyesight due to lack of post- operative care. During the inquiry, nine persons apart from the listed 16, had filed affidavits complaining of losing eyesight due to post-operative complications.

Odisha CM orders crime branch probe to Sambalpur collector assaulted case

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik orders crime branch probe to Sambalpur collector assaulted caseOdisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik orders crime branch probe into lawyers-Collector row in Sambalpur. Patnaik on Tuesday ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the row, asking the investigators to submit their report as soon as possible.

Describing the incident as shocking, Patnaik said the law would take its own course on the issue. “I was shocked to see the incident in the media,” he said.


Meanwhile, Patnaik also directed Collector Mrinalini Darswal and the Superintendent of Police, Sambalpur to submit detailed reports on the incident separately to initiate appropriate administrative action. It should be noted that in a shocking development on Monday, members of the District Bar Association had a violent confrontation with the district collector Mrilalini Darswal first inside a bus and then on the District Judge Court campus where, the collector alleged, she was manhandled by advocates.

Government employees from across the district took out a rally from the official residence of the collector and submitted the minutes of the meeting, which was organised by them yesterday, to the revenue divisional commissioner (northern division) and the inspector general of police, northern range. Condemning the manhandling of the collector and the district sub registrar, the employees demanded immediate police action against the lawyers.

It should be noted that the state government on Monday asked the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Northern) to send a report on the incident of violence in Sambapur and the alleged ransacking of collector’s residential office and misbehaviour meted out to the collector by the lawyers.

Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro, who apprised chief minister Naveen Panaik about the situation in Sambalpur, told that the RDC had been asked to submit a detailed report on the incident soon.  He described the incident as unfortunate.