HC notice to centre, AIIMS over student’s death

New Delhi, Dec 10: The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notice to the central government and AIIMS on a plea by a couple seeking a CBI inquiry into the death of their son, an MBBS student who reportedly committed suicide in the AIIMS campus three years ago.

Justice V.K. Jain sought a response from the government and management of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) by Jan 30, 2014.

The parents also sought the court’s direction to the government and AIIMS for financial compensation for the death of their 24-year-old son.

Gulab Chand Ahirwal and his wife Shanti Devi, who hail from Madhya Pradesh, had moved the high court saying that AIIMS failed to conduct a proper inquiry into the death of their son Balmukund Bharati who died March 3, 2010.

They sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.

On March 3, 2010, Balmukund, a final year MBBS student, reportedly hanged himself from the ceiling fan in his hostel room after failing in his exams.

“Respondent AIIMS and other authorities have failed to properly investigate the exact reason for the death of their son and they have also failed to pay any compensation till date for untimely and unnatural demise of Balmukund,” the parents of the late student said in the plea.

The petitioners alleged that the student was discriminated against by faculty members on the basis of caste and that he was failed by the professor concerned.

“Organised caste discrimination is rampant in the AIIMS which is within the knowledge of AIIMS administration and the authorities have not taken any steps,” the plea said.

They claimed that letters have been written to the Madhya Pradesh chief minister and other concerned authorities besides the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and also to the National Commission for SC and ST.

The parents said nothing has been done so far.

The petition added that due to caste-based discrimination at AIIMS, the health ministry in 2006 had appointed a three-member committee under University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Sukhadeo Thorat to probe the allegations.

The petitioners referred to the committee report in which it was said that the institute, despite requests, has not taken any initiative to arrange remedial coaching in English, basic courses or any other spheres for SC/ST students as is required by a central government educational institution.