Borewell deaths HC warns of homicide charge

Those responsible for the death of children falling accidentally into abandoned borewells can be booked for culpable homicide, the High Court observed orally on Monday. 

A Division Bench headed by Justice DH Waghela also said that criminal cases should be filed against government officials who had failed to implement the Supreme Court’s guidelines on abandoned and defunct borewells in the country and the circulars issued by the State government. 

The court then directed the government advocate to submit details of the total number of borewells in Karnataka and the number of abandoned or defunct borewells. The bench also ordered the government to furnish details of measures it had taken till date to avoid borewell accidents. The court will hear the matter again on September 8. 

A six-year-old boy had fallen into an abandoned borewell at Sulikeri village in Badami taluk of Bagalkot district on August 3, 2014. The government made efforts to rescue him but he was confirmed dead on August 9. 

Endosulfan victims

The High Court has admonished the State government for the delay in implementing healthcare and welfare measures for victims of endosulfan in Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. It demanded what if the victims died even as the government kept planning how to implement the measures. 

A division bench comprising Chief Justice DH Waghela and Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri asked the government why there was a delay in implementing the measures. The government advocate submitted that the principal secretaries and under secretaries of Revenue, Social Welfare and Health and Family Welfare departments had held a meeting on August 20, 2014, to discuss the recommendations by the amicus curiae, Vaishali Hegde. 

The amicus curiae has recommended free treatment, physiotherapy and naturopathy for victims of endosulfan. During the hearing, the amicus curiae said that many victims were unable to walk to primary health centres and yet to be provided with mobile health units on their doorstep.

The government advocate sought two months’ time to come up with a concrete plan on how the government would implement the recommendations on providing healthcare and welfare measures to the victims. The next hearing has been adjourned to October 6, 2014. 

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