Death of infants due to spurious cough syrup SC dismisses J&K’s plea against NHRC order on compensation

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration against an order of the National Human Rights Commission to pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to kin of 10 children who died in Udhampur district due to consumption of spurious cough syrup.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and M M Sundresh said officers were found to be negligent and it does not find any reason to interfere in the matter.

“Your officers are found to be negligent. They ought to have been vigilant. Don’t compel us to say things about food and industry department.The health of citizens is in their hands. They don’t perform duties at all. They can’t play with the lives of citizens. It is their duty to check and verify things,” the bench observed.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration challenging the March 3, 2021, order of the high court which had dismissed its plea against the NHRC order.

Ten children died in Ramnagar tehsil of Udhampur in December 2019 and January 2020 due to consumption of spurious cough syrup.

The NHRC found procedural lapses on the part of the Drugs Department.

The Commission held Jammu and Kashmir vicariously liable for the lapses on part of the department and recommended compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.