The hospital sends the dead body to the wrong family: Supreme Court moved after NCDRC reduces compensation to the deceased person’s family2 min read

By- Sairam Kethavath

A dispute over the Kerala based hospital’s mistake was moved to the supreme court (PR Jayasree and Anr v. Ernakulam Medical Centre and Anr). In 2009, The hospital released a dead body to the wrong family, depriving the last opportunity of the deceased family to have a final look and to conduct his final rites.

 Back in 2009, the family was in shock on finding out that his son, Puroshotaman was already released and that he had been cremated before the hospital could correct their mistake. 

The hospital intended to release the dead body of another man, PA Kantha instead of Puroshothaman. Kantha’s family had misconstrued and cremated him without knowing that he was not Mr Kantha. 

Puroshotaman’s family was awarded a compensation sum of Rs 25 lakhs by the Kerala State Consumer Forum. However, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum plummeted the compensation up to 5 lakhs upon an appeal by the hospital asserting that Kantha’s relatives cremated the dead body well and that the Puroshoaman’s family had received his ashes for other rites.

Moreover, without any rationale, the National Commission directed the Ernakulam Medical Centre (EMC) to pay 25 lakhs to the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the State Commission.

The family moved to the supreme court after NCDRC reduced the compensation payable to them by the hospital. 

A Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha issued a notice to the National Commission and stayed their order.

The Purushothaman’s family challenged the National Commission’s order on many grounds. The family asserted that the fabrication of the order was a non-application of mind and was regarded vague as it directed the hospital to pay 25 lakhs to the Consumer Legal Aid without any reason.

Moreover, awarding a sum of 5 lakhs is so much less when compared to the emotional and physical trauma undergone by the family. 

Advocates A Karthik, Anushka Pardikar, Venu Gopal, and C Govind along with a Senior advocate, V Chitambaresh appeared for the family (petitioners) before the supreme court. 

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