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The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of eight persons and over five thousand others falling sick due to leakage of styrene gas in Vizag District of the State of Andhra Pradesh early morning today. The leakage of the gas has reportedly affected people within a radius of about 3 kilometers. Many people could be seen lying on roads while some complained of difficulty in breathing and rashes on their bodies.

The Commission has observed that though prima-facie, as of now, there are no reports regarding human error or negligence but the fact that so far at least 8 innocent citizens have lost their lives and thousands have fallen sick, is indeed a serious issue of violation of human rights. Right to life of the victims has been grossly violated. At a time when the human lives across the country are at stake due to spread of COVID-19 virus and everyone is forced to stay indoor, the gruesome tragedy has come as bolt from the blue for the people.

Accordingly, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter including status of the rescue operation, medical treatment provided to the people fallen sick and relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families.

A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to inform within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted.

The Commission also considered it appropriate to bring the matter to the notice of the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs and has asked through its Secretary to examine whether the norms laid down under relevant provisions of the law are being implemented at the particular industrial unit and to submit a report to the Commission. Responses from all the these authorities are expected within four weeks.

As per early reports in the media, the incident has occurred at a chemical plant at LG Polymers Industry at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area of the district around 3.00 AM today on 7th May,2020. The unit manufactures polystyrene and its co-polymers. An evacuation drive has reportedly been started by the police authorities and the District Collector is monitoring the situation. The NDRF and SDRF teams are also deployed in the area as mentioned in the news report.

National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 07-05-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT): Coram of Justice Tarun Agarwala (Presiding Officer), Dr C.K.G. Nair (Member), and Justice M.T. Joshi (Judicial Member) held the appellants responsible for non-compliance of Regulation 33 of SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulation, 2015.

The imposed a fine of Rs 5,54,600 on the appellants for non-compliance of the said regulation. In a meeting of its Board of Directors, unaudited financial results were approved and this had to be uploaded on the Company’s website as well as on the stock exchange platform within 30 minutes of the conclusion of this meeting as well as within 24 hours as a per a circular. In addition to that, Annexure 1 relating to imposition of fine for violation of Regulation 33 stated if the said information is not disseminated in the stock exchange platform and on the Company’s website, a penalty of Rs 5000 per day till the non compliance would be levied and if it continues for more than 15 days then additional fine of 0.1% of paid-up capital would be automatically levied.

The appellant contended that they had uploaded the financial results in XBRL mode within 30 minutes instead of 24 hours but on account of a glitch the appellant could not upload the financial results along with the audit report within 30 minutes on the BSE platform though it was uploaded on the NSE as well as on the Company’s website. These results were published in the leading newspapers too. There was only a technical defect for which the appellant should not be penalised.

The Tribunal held that since the regulations and the circular require the financial results to be disseminated to the public for the desired purpose so that the investors are made aware of the financials of the Company. Thus, the limited audit report along with the financial results was required to be uploaded within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the Board of Directors. The financial results had price sensitive information and could not have remained unpublished and it was not complied with.

The Tribunal also held that the fine imposed was excessive as there was no deliberate intention on the part of the appellant to violate Regulation 33 of the Listing Regulations. The violation was a human error. In the interest of justice, the penalty was reduced to Rs 2,50,000.[SPL Industries Ltd. v. BSE Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SAT 151, decided on 20-08-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission: The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the deaths of more than 80 infants/children at a government-run hospital in the district Banswara of Rajasthan during the last two months. It has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks along with the steps taken and proposed to be taken to improve the conditions in the hospital. He has also been asked to inform whether any instructions in the recent past have been issued to the hospitals and other medical care institutions sensitizing them to be attentive and careful to prevent such tragic deaths due to any human errors/negligence.

Taking serious exception to the reported poor facilities and upkeep of the hospital, the Commission has observed that the negligence on the part of the hospital authorities amounts to violation of right to life of the poor victims. Many such cases from various parts of the country have come to the notice of the Commission, wherein a large number of human lives are lost due to the lack of infrastructure and callous attitude of the doctors/officers in the government run hospitals.

According to the media report, carried on the 5th September, 2017, the ‘Labour Room’ of the hospital was not properly sterilized and even the towels, being used, were found to be dirty. There was no proper sanitation in the Labour Room. The pregnant women were found to be underweight and proper consultation regarding appropriate diet was not being provided to them by the hospital. No proper records were being maintained. Due to weakness, they delivered babies at pre-mature stages and the infants suffered lung diseases leading to their deaths.

Reportedly, the State Government has suspended the Chief Medical Officer, Gynaecologist and the Block Medical Officer. Apart from this, 6 doctors have been issued show-cause notices and 6 others have been removed from the service.

National Human Rights Commission