Nurse Hazel’s Death: Should it Remain A Mystery?
Udupi: By not sending important documents, the Office of the Consulate General of India in Jeddah has done half-hearted efforts in the case of Hazel’s death. Even after three months, the family members of the victim have not come to a conclusion whether the death was a suicide or otherwise. They are not in a position to decide whether they should fight for justice or not.
Briefing the reporters Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag President, Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi at Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, Kunjibettu on Saturday, October 13 said that the documents like- Post Mortem Report, Inquest Report, Death Note written by Ms. Hazel, Charge sheet etc were necessary to come to a conclusion in such cases. Instead, The Office of the Consulate General of India has sent the doctor’s report claiming that it was suicide and a report from the Police supporting the same claim was sent along with the mortal remains of Ms. Hazel.
No mention of Post Mortem
The family has received a death Notification from Forensic Medicine Centre, Al-Baha, signed by Dr. Bandar Saleh Al- Zahrani, informing that the cause of death of Hazel as Asphyxia Hanging by suspension and then the doctor concludes that it was a suicide! One wonders how can a Doctor conclusively declare that it was a suicide without referring to the Post Mortem Report. There was no mention anywhere about the Post Mortem. The family is not sure whether the Post Mortem has been conducted or not!
A Strange Police Declaration
A communication No. 26/18/104 Dated- 16/01/1440 H (16/09/2018) from Maj. Gen. Ali Bin Mohammed Al Hadi, The Director of Al-Baha District Police, District Police, Al- Makhwah Governorate reveals that it was suicide by hanging herself on the stairs over the roof of the hospital’s nursing home. Further, in the same letter, he expresses that “the physical examination showed no traces of violence or resistance or otherwise”. Is this enough? Nowhere in the world, a Police Official can declare that the victim committed suicide in absence of “no traces of violence or resistance”.
Consulate General of India washes Hands
Strangely, the set of documents sent by Consulate General of India, Jeddah does not include the Post Mortem Report, Charge sheet and Inquest Report. The consulate has not even informed the developments in the Criminal Case filed by the Al Makwah Governorate. The family members have every right to know what happened in the case and how Hazel died. Therefore, it was the duty of the officials of the Indian Consulate to send all the above documents along with the dead body.
Anyway, since it was an unnatural death we are sure that post-mortem must have been carried out. Even a section of the media reported on 01/08/2018 that “……The judge, on Tuesday, July 31 had ordered for the post-mortem examination of her mortal remains. The judge will issue the final order only after the post-mortem report is presented to the court. …” If the report is based on official documents then there should be a Post Mortem done. Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF) has communicated with the Office of the Consulate General of India at Jeddah to collect the same and forward it to the parents of Hazel. If the family does not receive the documents, Human Rights Protection Foundation will certainly approach the Ministry of External Affairs complaining about the lapse in this issue.
The Family has a Right for Compensation
The Foundation has reliably come to know that there was a death note by Ms. Hazel and also that she has mentioned the name of the person who is responsible for her death. According to the law of the land, the victim’s family is entitled to Blood Money i.e., the compensation paid to the victim’s family for the loss suffered in any unnatural death. The Foundation also knows that there was a Criminal Case filed in this incident but is not sure whether the judgment has been pronounced. It was a duty of the Office of the Consulate General to collect this information and pass it on to the family. On the other hand, we are sad to hear that the accused has been released from the Prison and is roaming free.
The family has decided to wait for one more week to get the relevant documents from various authorities. Letters have already been forwarded to the Employer to pay the pending salary as well as all the terminal benefits to the aggrieved family. Letters have been written even to Mr. Sanjay Kumar Sharma, Vice Consul, Consulate General’s Office as well as Director of Al Makwah Police.
HRPF has assured all the moral and legal support to the aggrieved family till they get Justice.
What Criminal Procedure Code says on Exhumation?
Exhumation is the lawful disinterment of a buried body from its grave. Whenever a Police Officer making an investigation reasonably suspects that the body of the person is buried under questionable circumstances, he shall record his reasons in writing and forward the information with a requisition under section 176(3) Cr.P.C. to the nearest executive magistrate to be present at the time of disinterment.
Section 176 of CrPC, Subsection (3) authorizes an Executive Magistrate to order for an exhumation and subsequent examination of the dead body.
There is no time limit fixed in this country for disinterment contrary to countries like France, (10 years), Germany (30 years) and Scotland (20 years).
Meanwhile, there are problems too. Advanced decomposition may hamper the identification of injuries and disease process. Lifting of fingerprints to establish the identity may be difficult if the fingers are mummified and blackened. Artifacts due to burial and embalming process can cause serious handicaps.