Muzaffarpur Chief Judicial Magistrate on Monday ordered an investigation against Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey in a case of negligence registered against them in connection with the deaths of children in Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

Chief Judicial Magistrate Suryakant Tiwari ordered the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ADJM) to investigate the charges based on a case filed by social activist Tamanna Hashmi.

Hashmi had filed the case in the Muzaffarpur Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court on June 17.

The court has fixed the hearing in the case on June 28.

The petition said that Harsh Vardhan and Mangal Pandey failed to fulfil their duties to control the outbreak of AES, while both had done nothing to create awareness and sensitise people in the affected areas despite the fact that AES had been killing children for years.

Hashmi said that he has filed the case against the accused, Harsh Vardhan and Mangal Pandey, under 323, 308 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The disease has reportedly killed over 150 children in Bihar over the past three weeks although officials have confirmed a lower number of deaths.

Of the total 128 deaths in Muzaffarpur, Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) has reported 108 deaths.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh governments asking them to file affidavits within seven days giving details of facilities dealing with public health, nutrition and sanitation for treatment of children suffering from AES.

In a major development, hundreds of human skeletal remains were reportedly found in a forest area behind SKMCH in Muzaffarpur.

According to a report in ANI, a few dead bodies were found charred while hundreds of skeletons were found strewn on the ground or stuffed into sacks in the forest area near the state-run hospital.

An investigation has been ordered.

Meanwhile, a ban has been put on the practice of disposing off unclaimed bodies at SKMCH, SSP Muzaffarpur Manoj Kumar said.