TUTH violates victim’s kin’s fundamental right

  • Refuses to hand over autopsy report to distraught mother
  • Tells her to collect it from cops

Kathmandu, August 9

Violating the fundamental right of a citizen, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital today refused to hand over the autopsy report of Nishan Khadka, an 11-year-old who was abducted and killed earlier this week, to his mother.

The mother of the deceased and her relatives visited the hospital to collect the body and autopsy report of the 11-year-old, who was kidnapped and killed allegedly by Gopal Tamang and Ajay Tamang in Kathmandu on Sunday. But the hospital’s Department of Forensic Medicine refused to provide the post-mortem report, stating that the police were overseeing the matter.

Nishan’s kin then collected the body, which was cremated today at Pashupatinath. The cremation was performed after the arrival of Nishan’s father, Ganesh Bahadur, from Malaysia at around noon.

The hospital has already performed the autopsy and the forensic pathologist has prepared a report as well. Had the report been handed over, the parents would have known the circumstances that led to Nishan’s death.

“However, we were told to collect the report from the police station that requested the hospital to perform a post-mortem examination,” said Padam Bahadur Sapkota, Nishan’s maternal uncle.

The hospital, which is preparing to send the report to the police, confirmed that the family of the deceased could not be given access to autopsy report immediately if police were involved in the case.

“We have to first hand over such reports to the police. Family members can gather information from them,” said hospital’s Forensic Medicine Department Head Pramod Shrestha. “However, we do disclose basic information that led to the death to family members.”

The Office of the Attorney General has referred to this practice of withholding information a violation of constitutional right. The office was referring to Article 21 of the constitution, which states, “A victim of crime shall have the right to get information about the investigation and proceedings of a case in which s/he is the victim.”

“It is the victim’s right to know the details of the autopsy,” said Sanjeeb Raj Regmi, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office. “And since there is public interest in this case, the report should have been given to the parents.”

Authorities, however, can withhold information in exceptional cases where further examination of bodies may be necessary or if disclosure is likely to hamper investigation, according to Regmi. But that is not the case here because autopsy has been completed and the two, who abducted and killed the boy, were killed in a police encounter on Monday.

Metropolitan Police Circle, Thimi, which requested the hospital to conduct post-mortem examination, said it could not make information on Nishan’s death public as it was ‘yet to receive the autopsy report’.

“We generally have to wait for a few days to get such reports from hospitals,” said DSP Milan KC of Thimi circle, adding, “The scars on throat, chunk of cotton in mouth and handkerchief tied to the throat reveal how the boy could have died.”

Police had recovered Nishan’s body from a pit near the place where the Tamang duo had rented a room. The two, who asked for a ransom of Rs 4 million before killing Khadka, used to frequent the eatery operated by Khadka’s mother.