Bengal govt gets stay on fresh autopsy on undertrial's body

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Kolkata: A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday stayed an order passed by a single bench earlier in the day for holding a second post mortem examination on the body of a man who died in judicial custody "due to torture", as alleged by his brother.

The division bench passed the interim stay till Monday when the single bench will hear the matter again.

The single bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha ordered the second autopsy on the prayer by his brother claiming that he was tortured in custody in Purba Medinipur district.

The court directed that the body of Madan Ghorai alias Kalipada, who the BJP claimed to be its active worker, may be delivered by the petitioner to the state-run R G Kar Medical College and Hospital here for holding of the re-postmortem examination.

Challenging the order of the single bench, the West Bengal government moved an urgent appeal before a division bench comprising justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee in the evening.

The state government claimed that all the relevant documents with regard to the matter were not looked into by the single bench.

The division bench directed that the body be preserved in the present state till further orders.

It also asked the state government to file its affidavit-in-opposition to the single bench order by 6 pm on Sunday and reply, if any, by the brother of the deceased, before the hearing commences before the single bench on Monday.

The single bench had directed the head of the Forensic Department, R G Kar Medical College and Hospital, to conduct a full-fledged autopsy afresh and videograph the entire process.

A copy of the videography and the report of the second postmortem examination must be produced before the court on the next date of hearing on October 21, the judge said.

Petitioner Swapan Ghorai submitted that his brother was accused of kidnapping a woman at Patashpur in Purba Medinipur district and was in judicial remand since September 27 following his arrest.

The petitioner alleged before the court that Kalipada might have been tortured in custody and also claimed that he was brought to Kolkata for treatment from the correctional home in the district without the knowledge of the family.

The family was informed of his death on October 13 and was asked to collect the body from the state-run SSKM Hospital here, petitioner's lawyer Phiroze Edulji submitted.

The court said that since there are allegations of unnatural death and that too in custody, it was acceding to the request of the petitioner for a second post mortem examination.

Justice Mantha directed that after completion of the second autopsy and after the preservation of relevant samples, the body may be handed over back to the family of the petitioner.

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