Custodial Deaths
 

Police Custody

Year 1993-1994
Alleged custodial death of Shri Shanskhem Kharsaiot followed by death of two persons in police firing in Meghalaya
Alleged custodial death of Madan Lal in Delhi
Alleged custodial death of Shri Chandrasekharan in Pondicherry

Year 1994-1995
Alleged death of Korra Satya Rao, a tribal, in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh,

Year 1995-1996
Custodial death of Abdul Gafar Khan in Goa
Recovery of compensation amount from errant police personnel responible for custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Rajasthan


Year 1996-1997
Custodial death of Shri Bundoo in Uttar Pradesh
Death in police custody of Shri Udayan in Kerala
Complaint from Shri P.S. Bhatia regarding alleged death of Shri Mohd Mansoor in police custory at Baliya P.S., Bihar

Year 1997-1998
Custodial death of Atal Bihari Mishra - Uttar Pradesh

Year 1998-1999
Death of Punjabhai Somabhai Thakor due to Police beating: Gujarat(Case No.6123/95-96/NHRC)

Year 1999-2000
Death of an accused in Police custody due to beating ( Case No.351/20/97-98/CD )
Fruit vendor beaten to death by Police for not paying "HAFTA" :Delhi ( Case No.951/96-97/NHRC)
Suicide in Police lock-up : Kolar Karnataka ( Case No.12098/96-97/NHRC )
Negligence of Public Authorities : Death of witness in Police Sation: Gujarat ( Case No.7820/96-97/NHRC )

Year 2000-2001
Death of Gothandam in Police Custody: Pondicherry (Case No. 75/32/97-98/CD)
Illegal Detention, Torture and Death of Shah Mohammed in Police Custody and Negligence on the Part of Doctors for not Conducting a Thorough Post Mortem: Madhya Pradesh(Case No. 3855/96-97/NHRC)
Torture in Police Custody Results in the Death of Kartik Mehto: Bihar (Case No. 8903/95-96)
Negligence on the Part of Police Leads to the Killing of Mahendra Pal Singh: Uttar Pradesh.(Case No. 39/24/97-98/ACD)


Year 2001-2002
Custodial death of Mohammad Irshad Khan : Delhi (Case No.2387/30/2000-2001-CD)
Custodial death of Ram Kishore — complaint by Uttar Pradesh Parjapati Samaj Vikas Parishad (Case No.483-LD/93-94)
Death of Shishu Rebe due to torture in police custody: Arunachal Pradesh (Case No.74/96-97/NHRC)

Year 2002-2003
Death in custody of former Sarpanch of Gogon Village, Chuhur Singh due to negligence: Punjab (Case No.431/19/2000-2001)
Death of Bujhai in police custody due to torture: Uttar Pradesh (Case No.4238/96-97/NHRC)
Death of Radhey Shyam in police custody due to torture: Rajasthan (Case No.205/20/1999-2000-CD)
Death of Karan Singh in police custody due to violence: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.1935/12/2000-2001-CD)
Death of Surendra in police: Kerala (Case No.13353/96-97/NHRC)

Year 2003-2004
Death of Zakir in Police Custody at Pushp Vihar Police Station, New Delhi (CaseNo.525/30/2001-2002-CD)
Death of Madan Bhilala in Police Custody at Balawar Police Station, Distt. Khargaon: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.71/12/2001-2002-CD)
Death of Chhigga in the Police Custody at P.S. Sirsi, District Guna: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.1800/12/2000-2001-CD)
 

Year 2004-2005
Death of Sher Mohammad in Police custody by torture: U.P. – (Case No. 8924/95-96/NHRC)
Death of Sh. Kantosh Prahlad Jadhav, in Police Custody by torture : Latur, Maharashtra - (Case No. 5418/95-96/NHRC)
Custodial death of Haji Mohd. Nabuji Tentwala in police custody in Ahmedabad- (Case No.7586/95-96/NHRC)

 


Judicial Custody

Year 1997-1998
Custodial death of Asit Kumar Chaturvedi: Uttar Pradesh

Year 1999-2000
Death of Jaggannath Paoji Ingule, faliure on the part of Medical Officer to diagnose at an appropriate time : Maharashtra ( Case No. 16102/96-97/NHRC )

Year 2000-2001
Negligence on the Part of Jail Authorities Leads to the Death of an Inmate: Bihar(Case No. 3165/4/1998-99)

Year 2001-2002
Death of Sanjay Sitaram Mhasker due to custodial violence:Maharashtra (Case No.210/13/98-99-ACD)
Death of Dhirender Singh in Jail: Uttar Pradesh (Case No.21808/24/99-2000/CD)

Year 2002-2003
Death of Sibu – delay in the provision of timely medical aid: Kerala (Case No.136/11/2000-2001-ACD)
Custodial death of under-trial prisoner, Harjinder alias Jinda, due to negligence: Uttar Pradesh (Case No.8437/24/1999-2000-CD)
Murder of Manak Ram and grievous injuries to his son in jail: Rajasthan (Case No. 263/20/98-99-ACD)


Year 2003-2004
Death of Sanjay Sharma in District Jail, Mathura: Uttar Pradesh(Case No.41373/24/2000-2001-CD)   Death of an Under-trial Prisoner, Tachi Kaki: Arunachal Pradesh (Case No.14/2/2002-2003-CD)
 

Year 2004-2005
Death of Bhaiya Lall in judicial Custody in Uttar Pradesh - Case No. 9161/24/98-99-CD
Death of Kolumbus in judical custody in UP - Case No. 20143/24/2002-2003-CD]
Death of Smt. Basanti Devi in judicial custody in Bihar [Case No2435/4/2001-2002-CD]
Death of Chander Prakash in Judicial Custody - 5237/24/2000-2001-CD

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Police Custody

Year 1993-94

Alleged custodial death of Shri Shanskhem Kharsaiot followed by death of two persons in police firing in Meghalaya

The Commission took notice of an item broadcast over A.I.R. on 5 November 1993 that two persons had died as a result of police firing on a violent crowd gathered outside Sohra Police Station in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya State.. It was reported that people had gathered outside the Police Station to protest against the alleged custodial death of Shri Shamskhem Kharsaiot. The Commission immediately called for a report from the Chief Secretary, Meghalaya. On 19 November 1993, the State Government sent an interim report stating that in regard to the incident of alleged custodial death, Magisterial Inquiry had been ordered, and that in regard to the incident of police firing, a retired High Court Judge was being requested to investigate the matter. It was further reported that the next of kin of the deceased had been given Rs. 25000/- to meet funeral expenses etc.

Upon perusing the interim report, the Commission called for a further report on the action taken and the State Government sent such a report on 15 January 1994.. With regard to the custodial death, it stated that the Magisterial Inquiry had prima facie indicated the Police Officer concerned. Criminal cases had been registered against him. It was further reported that ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50000/- had been given to the next kin of the deceased and a near relative of the deceased had been given an appointment in Government on compassionate grounds.

With regard to the deaths resulting from the police firing, it was reported that an inquiry by a retired High Court Judge was continuing.

On perusing the report, the Commission on 17 January 1994, observed that in view of the several steps taken by the State Government, there appeared to be no necessity of the Commission pursuing the matter any further. The Commission placed on record its appreciation on the prompt responses by the State Government

Alleged custodial death of Madan Lal in Delhi

In 1993-94, the Commission took suo motu cognizance on the death of Madan Lal, 22 years of age, in police custody. Upon perusing the reports received from the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the Commission decided to have an investigation undertaken in terms of Section 14(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. It accordingly appointed Shri R.C. Chopra, a member of the Higher Judicial Service to investigate the matter.

Shri Chopra submitted a report on 11 March 1994 concluding that Shri Madan Lal had died as a result of a physical assault on his person, while he was in custody within a police station. Shri Chopra held an Assistant Sub-Inspector and three constables prima facie responsible for the death. The Commission in its order of 4 May 1994 accepted the conclusions and recommendations of the Investigating Officer and, in turn, made the following recommendations to the Administration of the NCTD:

(i) the investigation in the instant case should be handed over to the CBI at the earliest;

(ii) departmental action should be taken against the ASI of a neighbouring police station who was allegedly pressurizing members of the family of the deceased;

(iii) reasonable protection should be given to the members of the family and also to other witnesses until the regular trial takes place;

(iv) interim compensation of Rs. 50,000/- should be paid to the dependants of the deceased within one month, without prejudice to the amount of compensation that may be claimed in accordance with law.

On 30 May 1994, the Government of the NCTD conveyed its acceptance of the recommendations of the Commission.


Alleged custodial death of Shri Chandrasekharan in Pondicherry

The Tamil Nadu State Legal Aid and Advice Board brought to the notice of the Commission that Chandrasekharen had died on 29 December 1993 allegedly in police custody.. It was also pointed out that there was non-reporting by the Pondicherry Administration, in violation of the Commission's instructions dated 14 December 1993 requiring prompt reporting of custodial deaths. The Commission appointed Shri K. R. Gururajan, retired Vice-Chairman of Railway Claims Tribunal, Madras, to investigate the matter under Section 14 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. While investigation by Shri Gururajan was in progress, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Pondicherry reported that as a result of the Magisterial Inquiry which had been ordered by the Government of Pondicherry, the concerned police officers had been suspended and cases had been registered against them under the relevant provisions of law. On perusing the report, the Commission directed that no further action by it was necessary. The investigation earlier ordered u/s 14 of the Act was accordingly dropped.


Year 1994-95

Alleged death of Korra Satya Rao, a tribal, in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, as a result of police mistreatment

The Secretary of the Visakhapatnam district unit of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee sent a complaint to the Commission in May 1994 alleging that police officials raided Vasapanda village in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district on 27 April 1994, rounded up a group of tribals and beat them supposedly because they had provided food and shelter to Naxalites. It was further stated that, as a result, one of the tribals, namely Korra Satya Rao, received severe injuries to his head and shoulders and that he succumbed to these injuries on 5 May 1994. Inquiries conducted by the Sub-Collector and Asst. Superintendent of Police confirmed the complicity of a Sub-Collector and Asstt. Superintendent of Police confirmed the complicity of a Sub-Inspector and three police constables in the action leading to the death of Korra Satya Rao.

The Commission, in its proceedings of 17 February 1995, recommended that the police officials concerned be prosecuted Under Section 304 of the IPC and that Rs. 1 lakh be paid in compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh subsequently confirmed compliance with the Commission's directions.


Year 1995-96

Custodial death of Abdul Gafar Khan in Goa

The Commission received messages from the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police ofSouth Goa District in regard to the custodial death of Abdul Gafar Khan, who was arrested by the Margao Town Police at 0005 hours on 17 May 1994 and who subsequently died at around 0200 hours on the same day.

These messsages were sent in pursuance of the Commission’s direction issued in December 1993 to report cases of custodial deaths to it. Upon perusing these messages, the Commission decided to issue notice to the Chief Secretary, Goa, calling for a detailed report on this incident, along with other relevant documents.

The State Government reported to the Commission in October 1994 stating that Abdul Gafar Khan, who wasrequired in connection with a number of criminal cases, was arrested at 005 hours on 17 May 1994 at Kharebad junction, near the railway crossing. It was further stated that he had allegedly resisted arest, and that he had to be taken to a hospital at about 0200 hours. He was declared dead in the hospital.

A Magisterial enquiry revealed that Abdul Gafar Khan’s death was caused by brutal beating by four police personnel. The post mortem report attributed the death to multiple injuries, which were ante-mokrtem and which occurred within six hours prior to death. The State Government reported that it had decided the following:

(a) The Inspector General (IG) of Police would register a case under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder and take all necessay consequential action against the accused police personnel involved in the incident.

(b) The IG of Police would start an investigation through the Crime Branch and also move the Government of India for atake over of the case by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI)

(c) The IG Police would take concretesteps to prevent recurrence of such incidents, which constituted serious violation of human rights in addition to being criminal offences.

Accordingly, four police officials involved in the incident were suspended from service in June 1994 and necessary caseswere registered for murder. In September 1994, theCBI took over thecase from the local crime branch for further investigation.

Upon perusing thereport of the State Government, the Commission expressed appreciation of the steps taken. Te Commission also decided to ensure expeditious investigation by the CBI and to monitor the progress of the case brought under section 302 IPC.

After investigation, the CBI has decided to prosecute a Police Inspector, a Sub-Inspector, an Assistant Sub-Inspector and a Constable involved in the above mentioned incident. The relevant papers have been sent to the State Government by the CBI for according sanction for prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Chairperson of the Commission addressed a letter to the Chief Minister,Goa in August 1995, requesting him to expedite sanction, which will enable initiation of prosecution in the appropriate court . The sanction has since been received.


Recovery of compensation amount from errant police personnel responible for custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Rajasthan

In a move to bring about the "quick and appropriate" sensitization of police personnel and others, the Commission has taken the view that compensation to be paid in cases of custodial death should be borne by the State but recovered from the delinquent public servants.

In respect of three separate incident, resulting in the custodial death of Anthonisamy, BabulaDas and Teja Ram Bhil in Tamil Nadu, Orisa and Rajasthanrespectively, the Commission suggested to the State Governments concerned that they should consider the recovery of the compensation amounts from the offending police officials. The Commission took the view that if this were done, the exchequer would not be burdened with the liability of paying compensation resulting from the "unauthorized, unlawful and illegal acts of public servants."

The Commission has since received a communication from the Tamil Nadu Government that action had been initiated for the sanction of compensation to the next of kin of Anthonisamy and its subsequent recovery from the guilty police officials. The Chief Minister of Orissa has also written to the Commission stating that compensation, as recommended by the Commission, has been sanctioned to the next of kin of Babula Das who died in Khurda Police Station custody. The Commission awaits compliance of the Orissa Government indicating that recovery will be made. The Rajasthan Government has agreed in principle with the Commission’s recommendation on the recovery of compensation from the guilty police officials. The Commission has applied this principle subsequently in a number of similar cases that were brought before if.


Year 1996-97

Custodial death of Shri Bundoo in Uttar Pradesh

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Moradabad vide his fax message dated 14 October, 1995 reported the death of one Bundoo while in custody. The Commission took cognizance and called for a report from the Government of Uttar Pradesh. In their report, the Government stated that on 12 October 1995 a case under section 302/301 IPC in crime No. 273/95 was registered at Police Station Chandpur, Bijnore District against four named persons. The case came to be investigated by an .SHO. Two of the accused persons were arrested in the morning of 13 October and on interrogation one of them described the place of incident. After being handcuffed, he was taken to the site for identification in course of investigation. He had also indicated that he would lead the police to the discovery of weapons used for the offence.

Two police SHOs along with a host of constables proceeded to the place. Suddenly, Bundoo jumped out of the vehicle and came to fall in front of a moving bus. He received serious injuries which ultimately led to his death at Moradabad District Hospital. The SSP indicated that the two Inspectors concerned had been ordered to be present at the roll call and orders for departmental action would soon be initiated.

The long reports and the connected material were scrutinised by the Commission. Accepting the same to be true version of the incident, the Commission held that the deceased sustained grievous injuries when he jumped from a moving jeep and fell before a speeding bus. There was no dispute that a host of constables were also travelling in the jeep along with the deceased who had already been handcuffed. It was the obligation of the constables to ensure that the handcuffed accused would not run away from the jeep. The fact that so many police officers were present in the jeep when the deceased jumped out of the vehicle showed gross negligence by the police guard.

The Commission recommended that an enquiry be undertaken immediately and the concerned police officers and the constables, if found guilty of negligence, be adequately punished.

The Commission took the view that compensation should be paid to the next of the kin of the deceased and recommended a compensation of Rs. One lakh in this respect. Government would be free to reimburse itself, as it considered appropriate, from the delinquent police officers. It would be open to apportion the amount of recovery.

The State Government vide letter dated 15.9.98 submitted that enquiry is conducted in the matter. However, no police officer was found guilty and this report was accepted by Chief Judicial Magistrate, Moradabad. As regards payment of compensation, an amount of Rs.1.00 lakhs has already been paid to the next of kin.


Death in police custody of Shri Udayan in Kerala

This case was brought to the notice of the Commission by Dr Xavier Paul who alleged that Udayan died In police custody in the lockup in Mannarghat Police Station on 20 January 1994. Amnesty International also reported this incident in a publication brought out by it in March 1994.

On the basis of evidence of Shri Rashid, an inmate of the same lock up, the Commission noted that Udayan was beaten up a couple of hours before his suicide in the Sub Inspector's room as also when he was being brought back to his cell. The Commission was of the view that the torture to which Udayan was subjected by the police in the lockup contributed to his committing suicide. The Commission recommended that:

1. A case should be registered against the police officials responsible for torturing Udayan and that they should be prosecuted with utmost expedition.

2.Payment of compensation of at least Rs 1,00,000/- to the family of Udayan.

Accordingly compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- has been paid to the family of Udayan. The Home Department, Government of Kerala has asked the Director General of Police, Kerala to register a case against the police officers responsible for torturing Udayan.


Complaint from Shri P.S. Bhatia regarding alleged death of Shri Mohd Mansoor in police custory at Baliya P.S., Bihar

The National Minorities Commission forwarded a complaint under a covering letter dated 5 April, 1994 alleging the death of Mohd. Mansoor in police custody at Baliya police station in district Begusarai of Bihar State on 5 February 1994. On issue of notice; the Government of Bihar vide their letter dated 15 September 1994, reported to the Commission that one Saiyyad Mohd Kasim was robbed of Rs. 33, 1051- which he was carrying while he was travelling on a bicycle. The money was meant for salaries of some school teachers and his own. Three men stopped him at pistol point and threw him on the ground from the bicycle and took away the money. On a written complaint from Shri Kasim, a case under section 392 IPC was registered and investigation undertaken. In the course of investigation the house of Mohd Mansoor was searched by the police but he escaped by the back-door. The villagers gathered there on hearing the noise, and caught hold of Mohd Mansoor. He was taken to the police station. He was later sent to the hospital in an injured condition and given first aid. As the condition of Mohd Mansoor was serious he was advised to be sent to the Begusarai hospital where better facilities were available. The deceased is said to have died as a result of the blows he received at the hands of the public.

The matter was inquired into by the IGP Bhagalpur and Divisional Commissioner, Bhagalpur. From the report submitted by them, there did not appear to be any cogent eyidence of assault by the members of the public. On the other hand three witnesses spoke of a police assault. Seven more witnesses stated that they saw the beating administered by the police. The mother and the widow of the deceased also spoke about a police beating.

The Commission felt that if the fatal injuries had really been received from members of the public, the police should have immediately taken Mohd. Mansoor to the hospital instead of keeping him for a long period at the Police Station and only thereafter taking him for treatment. The Commission therefore did not agree with the findings of the investigation that the deceased met his end on account of injuries sustained by him as a result of assault by members of the public. There appeared to be an attempt by the police to shield its own officers at the lower level. The circumstances indicated that he was tortured at the police station and died as a result of the injuries he received.

The Commission called upon the Director General of Police, Bihar to ascertain within one month the names and particulars of the police officers who had taken the deceased into custody and had occasion to handle him at the police station and to prosecute them. It further recommended that an interim compensation of Rs. One lakh be paid to the widow of the deceased. The State Government was asked to consider the propriety of taking steps for recovery of the amount from the concerned delinquent police officers.

The Government of Bihar in its letter dated 28 February 1997 intimated that a sum of Rs. One lakh has been sanctioned to the widow of the deceased.


Year 1997-98

Custodial death of Atal Bihari Mishra - Uttar Pradesh

A reference to the case was made in the annual report of the Commission for the year 1996-97. It was mentioned that a number of police personnel were charge-sheeted in this case, consequent to intervention by the Commission.

Thereafter, Shri Umesh Chander Mishra, the elder brother of the deceased made a supplementary prayer that as the investigations had established that Atal Bihari Mishra was killed by the police, the Commission should award Rs. 25 lakhs by way of compensation. He also sought protection for the family and employment to one of its members on compassionate grounds.

As there was prima facie material to hold that Atal Bihari Mishra died as a result of police violence, the Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, to show cause why a reasonable interim-compensation should not be awarded to the members of the family of the deceased. As the State Government did not avail itself of the opportunity to show cause, the Commission proceeded on the assumption that the State of Uttar Pradesh had no cause to show against the claim of interim compensation by the members of the deceased family; and recommended that:

i) the State of Uttar Pradesh do pay to Shri Suresh Mishra, resident of Village Prem Raja, Police Station Bhimpura, District Balia, the father of the deceased, a sum of Rs. 5,00,000/- by way of interim compensation, to be paid within one month from the date of order, subject to the private law rights of the dependents to bring an appropriate legal action for damages in which event the sum awarded by way of interim compensation was adjustable;

ii) appropriate protection to the family of Shri Suresh Mishra be accorded depending on the security and threat perceptions of the situation having regard to the fact that the family could legitimately apprehend retaliatory attitudes from the police officers and personnel against whom the accusation has been made; and

iii) the Government of Uttar Pradesh should sympathetically consider the prayer of the family for an appointment at an appropriate level, having regard to the eligibility and qualifications of a suitable member of the family, on compassionate grounds.

The recommendations of the Commission were conveyed to the State of Uttar Pradesh asking for compliance by 5 December 1997. By a communication dated 28 December 1997, the State Government stated that, as a case in connection with the murder of Atal Bihari Mishra was pending in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Balia against 21 police officials, compliance of the directions/recommendations of the Commission could only be possible after the police officials/accused persons were found guilty of the charges.

The Commission considered the stand taken by the State Government and felt that its tenability or otherwise depended upon, and flowed from, an answer to the question whether the award of "Immediate Interim Relief" envisaged in sub-section (3) of Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 (‘Act’ for short) is dependent on the establishment of culpability of the public servant at the criminal trial "or whether the remedy is independent of such pettifoggeries". As this matter has wide connotations, the following is reproduced from the Commission’s proceedings of 23 February 1998:

"It is well settled that the standards of proof in civil and criminal cases are not the same. It is equally well settled that a fact may be regarded as proved for purposes of a civil suit, though the evidence may not be considered sufficient for a conviction in a criminal case. The authorities say that a strong and marked difference exists as to the effect and probative value of evidence in civil and criminal proceedings. In civil proceedings, a mere preponderance of probability, due regard being had to the burden of proof, is a sufficient basis of decision; but in criminal trials, a much higher degree of assurance is required. In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. A conviction cannot be sustained even if the prosecution story is considered ‘may be true’ until it is found that it ‘must be true’ but between ‘may be true’ and ‘must be true’ there is inevitably a long distance which has to be covered by legal, reliable and unimpeachable evidence. Therefore, even if an accused person is acquitted by a criminal court of a criminal charge, that, by itself, is no bar to the grant of compensation by a civil court if the offence is also a tort and there is evidence to establish the wrong on a mere preponderance of probability."

"Apart from the foregoing, it is pertinent to take note of the fact that the ‘Immediate Interim Relief’ envisaged in Section 18(3) of the Act has to be correlated to the injury/loss which the victim or members of his family have suffered owing to the violation of Human Rights by public servants. By no stretch of imagination can it be argued that award of this ‘Immediate Interim Relief’ is dependent upon the strict establishment of criminal liability after a full dress court trial. If this view is accepted, the relief will then neither be ‘immediate’ nor ‘interim’. A meaningful and harmonious construction of this clause would have no doubt that the Commission is entitled to invoke its benevolent sweep on a prima facie view of the matter irrespective of whether there is any litigation - civil or criminal relating to the matter."

"In the case in hand, the very fact that the result of the investigation carried out by the State CID itself shows that as many as 21 police officials have been charge-sheeted for several grave offences and are facing trial before a Court is, by itself, more than sufficient for invoking the provisions of Section 18 (3) of the Act. Victimology and victim assistance and protection are the current values of humanism permeating the administration of criminal justice. All civilised countries the world over have, in one form or the other, schemes for ‘criminal injuries compensation’ to the victims of crime. Section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 incorporates and assimilates, at least in a partial measure, this philosophy and recognised the State’s moral obligation to the victims of violations of Human Rights by public servants. The expression ‘relief’, in the context of the Statute, presupposes the existence of conditions of human distress as justifying benevolent intervention. The ‘relief’ may be monetary-relief, medical-relief, compassionate employment, etc., or all of them."

"It is necessary to reiterate that when the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enacted the Parliament was, and, should always be presumed to be, aware of the state of the civil and criminal law in the country. The Preamble of the Act itself makes manifest Parliament’s anxiety to provide an additional forum for ‘better protection’ of Human Rights and, therefore, it is idle to argue that any proceedings in civil or criminal Courts, pending or prospective, can operate as a limiting factor or influence on the scope of the jurisdiction of the Commission to recommend ‘immediate interim relief’ in cases of distress."

"The idea of ‘immediate interim relief’ does not therefore, presuppose the establishment of criminal liability of the offender in a court of law as a precondition for the administration of the ‘reliefs’ nor does it depend on whether any civil litigation is either pending or prospective. A welfare State recognising its obligation to afford ‘relief’ to its citizens in distress, particularly those who are victims of violations of their human rights by public servants, has made this law under which the Governments seek advice from the National Human Rights Commission as to what, in its view, is reasonable ‘immediate interim relief’ in a given case so that the State can act on the recommendation. The recommendations of the Commission are not, no doubt, binding judicial orders; but they cannot be undone and turned to naught by perverse and palpably untenable legal views of the matter. The limiting of such Statutory relief only to cases in which criminal liability of the offending public servant is established in a Court of law beyond reasonable doubt by standards of criminal evidence, is to thwart an otherwise civilised piece of legislation by importing totally irrelevant limitations. The Commission desires to point out that the ground urged by the Government in this case is wholly irrelevant."

"The meaning to be given to Section 18(3) by any State professing to be a Welfare State should ensure a liberal construction to promote the philosophy of the Statute and to advance its beneficent and benevolent purposes. The view that implies that administration of such ‘immediate interim relief’ could only be at the end of the day, after the guilt of the offending public servant is established in a criminal trial on the standards of criminal evidence would nullify the great humanism the Statute seeks to enshrine. The Commission only hopes that the Government of Uttar Pradesh is an ally of those values and will respond in a way which accords with the message and philosophy of the law and its obligation as a Welfare State."

"The Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh shall accordingly be written to by the Secretary-General enclosing a copy of these proceedings and informing the Chief Secretary that Government of Uttar Pradesh cannot seek to avoid the Commission’s recommendations in this case on the ground that establishment of culpability of a public-servant is a condition precedent to the arising of the liability under Section 18(3). The State Government be urged that its persistence in such untenable stand would expose it to avoidable legal hassles and litigation."

The Commission considered the matter on 1.8.98 when it had ordered as under:-

"The State Govt. of UP has sent a report stating that a sum of Rs.5 lakhs as recommended by the Commission has already been sanctioned in favour of Shri Suresh Mishra father of Shri Atal Bihari Mishra. However, Govt. has expressed its inability to provide employment to a family member of the deceased on compassionate gounds on the premise that under the existing rules, compassionate appointment is permissible only to depedents of Government servants dying in harness. The report of the State Government is taken on record. Commission hopes that as a special case the State Government would yet sympathetically consider the question of appointment of a family member of the deceased in Govenment employment on compassionate grounds in view of the fact that the family of the victim has been devastated by the high handed criminal acts of public servants. With these observations the case is closed."


Year 1998-99

Death of Punjabhai Somabhai Thakor due to Police beating : Gujarat (Case No.6123/95-96/NHRC)

The deceased, Shri Punjabhai Thakor aged 55, was a suspect in a case of theft of an article worth Rs.14,695/- from the house of a resident of Napa. An offence was registered under sections 457, 380 of IPC on 18 September 1995. The deceased and two other suspects were alleged to have voluntarily presented themselves on 13 November 1995 for interrogation. During the course of investigation, the deceased suddenly complained of giddiness and lay down. The PSO instructed that he be admitted in the hospital. Head Constable Juwar Singh and another Constable, Balwant Singh, took him to the Municipal Hospital. The doctor was not available. The Head Constable checked his pulse and found him dead. They left the body there and returned to the police station to report the death. The death took place around 18.00 hrs on 13 November 1995. The inquest Panchanama was held on 14 November 1995 at 08.00 hrs. In the meantime, rodents had bitten the body.

The inquest Panchnama report stated that there were dark spots of beating on the back, buttocks and the back of the thighs and legs. The Magisterial enquiry found that the interrogation was conducted without arrest warrant and proper remand; no doctor was present in the hospital. In spite of no doctor being available, the body was left in the ‘dead body room’ without proper care; the body was not kept safely and rats had bitten the body. Earlier, the police had not immediately attended to the deceased when he had complained of giddiness. Overall, according to the enquiry, the police had acted negligently and had not performed their duty according to law. The SDM, on the basis of the report, had recommended that the complaint be handed over to the Vigilance Department. He also registered a case u/s 302, 114 of IPC against the police officials. The post-mortem report found the cause of death due to cardio-respiratory failure. The Home Department of the State Government reported that the Human Rights Cell of the State Government accepted the view expressed in the inquiry report of the SDM that the death of Shri Punabhai Takor did not occur due to police atrocities while in custody but due to cardio-respiratory failure.

Taking a serious view of the totality of the circumstances and the negligent behaviour and non-performance of duty by the police officials, the Commission refused to accept the Home Department’s observations that death was due to cardio-respiratory failure and not

due to police atrocities. To the contrary, the Commission took the view that the beating by police officials and the overall effect of interrogation could have resulted in a cardiac failure resulting in death. The Commission, in this context, pointed to the post-mortem report which mentioned congestion and oedema of the brain, to buttress its view. The Commission accordingly directed the State Government to pay a compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the dependant of the deceased without prejudice to the criminal action initiated against the guilty officials.


Year 1999-2000

Death of an accused in Police custody due to beating ( Case No.351/20/97-98/CD )

The District Magistrate, Nagaur, Rajasthan informed the Commission of the death in police custody of one Rameshwar Jat, who had been called to the police station for questioning in a case. It was stated on behalf of the police that the deceased remained in the police station upto 4.15 PM on 19 July 1997 and thereafter quietly slipped out and that one Daulat Singh Rajput reported to the police at about 6.15 PM that a young man had fallen into a well at about 5.00 PM. He was taken out with the help of neighbours and was identified as Rameshwar Jat. He later died in the hospital.

The Additional District Magistrate, Didwana who conducted the inquest, came to the conclusion that the deceased was illegally called to the police station on 18 July 1997 and 19 July 1997 and was physically beaten up by certain police personnel. Being frightened as a result of the beating, he ran away from the police station and fell into a deep dry well in consequence of which he sustained injuries which proved fatal. The Inquest Magistrate held certain police officials, including the SHO responsible for the incident and ordered registration of a case for being investigated by the CID.

The Commission agreed with the report of the Inquest Magistrate and awarded a further compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the dependents of the deceased, in addition to the Rs.50,000/- already sanctioned by the Rajasthan State Government to his legal representatives. The Commission has received a compliance report from the State Government on the payment of compensation of Rs. 50,000/-.


Fruit vendor beaten to death by Police for not paying "Hafta" : Delhi ( Case No.951/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission initiated proceedings in this case on the basis of a report received from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Shahadra, Delhi indicating that the death had occurred of one Matloob Hussain on 13 July, 1996 following a severe beating inflicted on him by two policemen of Police Station, Geeta Colony, Delhi on 11 July, 1996.

The Commission subsequently received petitions from certain NGOs, namely the People’s Union for Democratic Rights and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, and also from Shri Syed Shahabuddin, former Member of Parliament, who raised the general issue of the violation of the human rights of petty vendors in Delhi and elsewhere in the country. They felt that the Commission should protect this group from the atrocities committed against them by the police and other authorities, including the demands made on vendors to pay `hafta’.

In response to the Commission’s notice, the Sub-divisional Magistrate of Shahdara gave a detailed account of the events that had occurred. The report received from the Police, however, gave a somewhat different version. From the reports, however, the Commission inferred that a Head Constable and a Constable had subjected the deceased to physical violence and the beating was so severe that it ultimately proved fatal.

The Commission observed that the higher authorities had done well in taking action against the delinquent police officials by putting them under suspension and prosecuting them after due investigation, though regrettably this was done only after the death of Shri Hussain. The Commission was, however, pained to observe the lack of sensitivity of the concerned Station House Officer (SHO) who had neither taken adequate and immediate action for the medical treatment of Shri Hussain nor for the registration of a case against the errant police officials even though he was aware of the incident. The Commission thus assumed that the atrocities committed were with the knowledge of, or in connivance with, the SHO. The Commission, therefore, recommended that disciplinary action be initiated against him for the various acts of commission and omission of which he has been found guilty by the Magisterial inquiry and by the Commission. The Commission also recommended that the conduct of two police officials, the DCP (East District) and the ACP, Public Grievances Cell be looked into and appropriate action taken.

The Commission further recommended to the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi that it ensure an effective and expeditious trial of the errant officials and make sure that they are punished in accordance with law and not allowed to go scot-free because of weak prosecution. It also directed the Government to ensure that the implementation of the scheme framed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in regard to hawkers/petty vendors be implemented at the earliest.

The Commission considered it deeply regrettable that an innocent fruit vendor of about 33 years of age and supporting a family of seven, lost his life as a result of a severe beating by two policemen of the Delhi Police mainly because he had failed to oblige them by paying the "Hafta" (the illegal weekly collection made to permit petty vendors to carry out their trade).

The Commission asked the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to pay a sum of Rs.2.5 lakhs to the next of kin of Matloob Hussain who had died of police violence.

The Commission also asked the Delhi Government to constitute a High Powered Committee to look into the menace of the collection of "Hafta" by the police and other civic functionaries from the petty vendors and other similarly placed persons. The Committee was asked to suggest ways and means to curb this menace so that this vulnerable section of society can live in peace.

The Commission subsequently received a report from the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi indicating compliance with the directions of the Commission.


Suicide in Police Lock-Up: Kolar, Karnataka ( Case No.12098/96-97/NHRC )

The Commission was informed by the Superintendent of Police of Kolar District of the death of one Thimmaiah in the Mulbagal Police Station. Thimmaiah had allegedly committed suicide with a nylon rope hung from a window bar in the toilet of the police station. The Commission also received a complaint from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka suspecting foul play in this case and requesting the Commission to have the matter investigated, bring the culprits to justice and compensation awarded to the next of kin of the victim.

Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, the Additional Chief Secretary, Karnataka sent a report along with copies of the post-mortem and inquest reports. These were contradictory in nature and did not establish the fact that the victim had committed suicide. Considering the facts and circumstances as disclosed in the reports, the Commission was of the view that there was justification for a presumptive inference that the death of Thimmaiah, in the absence of a convincing explanation from those who had him in their power and custody, had been caused in custody by the police. In any event, the police who held sway over the person of Thimmaiah are guilty of not preventing the suicide, even if the remote theory of a suicide were at all held to be probable.

Accordingly, the Commission directed the Government of Karnataka to register a case against the errant police officials and initiate departmental action against them. A case was also to be registered against the doctor who had conducted the post-mortem, on charges of destroying evidence. The Commission directed the investigation to be taken over by the Corps of Detectives of the Karnataka State and since there was a strong prima-facie case of violation of human rights, the Government of Karnataka was directed to pay an interim relief of Rs. 2 lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased. It would be at liberty to initiate proceedings for recovering the sum from those who, by their highhandedness, had exposed the Government to this liability. The Commission has received a compliance report from the Government of Karnataka on the payment of compensation, disciplinary proceedings and prosecution.

COMMENT

The liability of the State for damages for violation of the Constitutional rights to life, liberty and dignity of the individual has been recognised and established as a part of the public law regime. In the decisions of the Apex Court, in particular, in the case of Francis Coralie Mullin Vs. Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi and Others (1981) 1 Supreme Court cases 608 and Nilabati Behera vs. State of Orissa (1993) 2 SCC 746 the constitutional and juristic foundations of this liability of the State have been formally and finally laid down. Even the claim of sovereign immunity arising out of the State discharging sovereign functions is held to be no defence at all against the acts of violation of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights.


Negligence of Public Authorities : Death of witness in police station : Gujarat Case No.7820/96-97/NHRC

The death of one Hasmukhbhai Kanubhai was reported to the Commission by the Section Officer of the Department of Home of the Gujarat Government. It was stated that he had died in the Mahuva Police Station, where he had been brought as a witness for interrogation. The report of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate stated that the deceased had been detained overnight in the police station. The next day, he had complained of pain in the chest and symptoms of diarrhoea. As his condition started deteriorating, his relatives had sought medical help but the police officials on duty brushed aside their request saying that they were waiting for the Investigation Officer, who alone could take a decision in this regard. After a considerable delay, the deceased was taken in an autorickshaw to the hospital, where he was declared as brought dead. The Government, however, did not consider the death as one in police custody as the deceased was not an accused but a witness at the Police Station, brought in for interrogation, and had died on the way to the hospital.

The Commission held this to be a case of gross negligence on the part of police officials in the police station as they had not provided timely medical assistance. It also took the view that custodial death did not only mean the death of an accused person in custody; the term included witnesses taken into custody whose freedom of movement was curtailed by the police. The Commission felt that this was a case of ‘custodial ill treatment’ resulting in death. It thus directed the State Government of Gujarat to pay immediate interim relief in the amount of Rs.2 lakh to the dependants of the deceased, with liberty to initiate proceedings for recovery of this sum from those who, by their highhandedness, had exposed the State Government to this liability. It also called for the initiation of disciplinary action against the errant police officials for their negligence in not providing proper and timely medical facilities to the victim. The Commission has received intimation from the Government of Gujarat with regard to the sanction which was issued for payment of Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation.


Year 2000-2001

Death of Gothandam in Police Custody : Pondicherry (Case No. 75/32/97-98/CD)

Upon being informed of the custodial death of one Gothandam, aged 23 years, who was brought to the Police Station during the night of 15/16 February 1998 but who died in the course of interrogation, the Commission issued notice to the Government of Pondicherry calling for a report.

The report received from the Government of Pondicherry indicated that all the five police officials who had been involved in this incident were placed under suspension; a criminal case had been registered against them and a sum of Rs. 60,000 had been paid as compensation to the father of the deceased.

The Commission observed, however, that the amount of Rs. 60,000 was far too meagre, especially since the death of the young man had been caused in police custody. The magisterial enquiry report also showed that the victim has been tortured severely. Having regard to these facts, the Commission directed the issue of a show cause notice to the Government of Pondicherry as to why an additional amount of Rs. 2.00 lakhs be not granted as immediate interim relief under Section 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The Government of Pondicherry responded saying that the matter was pending before a Court. The Commission, however, took the view that the payment of immediate interim relief under Section 18(3) of the Protection of Human rights Act, 1993 was not dependent on the outcome of the criminal prosecution. It accordingly directed the Government of Pondicherry to deposit an amount of Rs. 2.00 lakhs in a nationalized bank, in the name of the next of kin of the victim, adding that the interest that accrued thereon be made available to the next-of-kin every three months.

A report indicating compliance with the directive of the Commission has since been received.


Illegal Detention, Torture and Death of Shah Mohammed in Police Custody and Negligence on the Part of Doctors for not Conducting a Thorough Post Mortem : Madhya Pradesh (Case No. 3855/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission initiated proceedings in this case upon receipt of a wireless message from the Superintendent of Police, Durg which indicated that the custodial death had occurred of a certain Shah Mohammed, a resident of Bhilai in district Durg of Madhya Pradesh. A petition was later received from the Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh State Committee, CPI (ML) alleging that Shah Mohammed had been picked up by the police on the night of 16 July 1996, illegally detained and brutally tortured to death. The petition added that the wife of the deceased had not been informed of what had occurred.

In response to a notice from the Commission, the Government of Madhya Pradesh transmitted to the Commission copies of the magisterial inquiry report, the post-mortem report, the inquest panchnama and viscera examination report.

According to the police version, Shah Mohammed, alongwith five others, had been found to be travelling in a jeep under suspicious circumstances during the night of 17-18 July 1999. Reportedly, the group was apprehended by the Inspector of Bhatti, Bhilai, and brought to the police station. Inquiries made indicated that they had hatched a conspiracy to murder a lady, Ms. Mazara Bai, the foster mother of Shah Mohammed, after obtaining her signatures on certain papers purported to be a will of her entire property. In the afternoon, however, Shah Mohammed had complained of uneasiness and sickness and was, therefore, taken to Durg hospital for treatment. He died there later in the day. A case crime No. 160/96 under section 115, 116, 120(B) IPC and 25, 27 Arms Act had been registered against Shah Mohammed and his associates.

The post mortem examination report indicated there were only two injuries; one ante-mortem and the other post-mortem on the body of the deceased. The ante-mortem injury was in the form of a contusion measuring 2.5 cms x 2 cms on the lateral side of the left toe of the deceased, while the post-mortem injury (purportedly caused by a rodent bite) was on the right side of the cheek, measuring 9.3 cms x 3 cms from the edge of the lip to the ear, with a reddish liquid oozing out from the said injury. The inquest panchnama proceedings conducted by the City Magistrate and attested by five witnesses did not indicate any other external injury on the body. The magisterial inquiry was conducted by Shri B.L. Tiwari, Additional Collector and District Magistrate.

His report concluded that Shah Mohammed was in critical condition around noon and had, in fact, died even before he was moved to the hospital. The inquiry also stated that the two Doctors involved in conducting the post-mortem had produced an inconclusive report, which did not provide a definite opinion about the cause of death; nor had these doctors sent the requisite samples for histopathological examination to the Director, Medical Institute. The Additional Collector and District Magistrate therefore concluded that the death of Shah Mohammed resulted from negligent conduct on the part of the concerned police officers.

After considering all of these reports the Commission concluded that Shah Mohammed was picked up by the police in the evening of 16 July 1996, kept in illegal detention in the police lock-up by the police of Bhatti, Bhilai until the afternoon of 18 July 1996 and brutally tortured during the period of his illegal detention. It was this that led to his death at the police station in the afternoon of 18 July 1996, before he was removed to the hospital.

The Commission accordingly, acting under section 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, recommended that the Government of Madhya Pradesh take action to:

· Register a case of custodial death against the Officer-in-charge of the Police Station Bhatti, Bhilai and other police officers who were responsible for causing the death of Shah Mohammed;

· Initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the two Doctors who had not conducted the post-mortem examination thoroughly and who had failed to prepare a comprehensive post-mortem examination report;

· Pay a sum of Rs. 2.5 lakhs to the next-of-kin of the deceased within a period of four weeks of this, an amount of Rs. 50,000 was to be payable immediately and the balance deposited in the fixed term account in a nationalized bank for a period of five years, the interest accruing thereon being paid to the next of kin

In this instant case of illegal detention, the death of Shah Mohammed in police custody, and negligence on the part of doctors for not conducting a through post mortem, the Commission had directed the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to register a case of custodial death against the police officers responsible for causing the death of Shah Mohammed and to initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the doctors who had not conducted the post-mortem examination thoroughly and had failed to prepare a comprehensive post-mortem examination report. The State was also directed to pay a sum of Rs.2.5 lakhs to the next-of-kin of the deceased.

Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, the State Government of Madhya Pradesh has reported that as directed by the Commission, compensation of Rs.2.5 lakhs has been paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased and suitable legal action has been initiated against the guilty officials. The Commission, after taking the report on record, has closed the case.


Torture in Police Custody Results in the Death of Kartik Mehto : Bihar (Case No. 8903/95-96)

The Commission received a complaint from Smt. Munuwa Devi alleging that her husband, Kartik Mehto, had been illegally detained by the police on 27 September 1995, brutally tortured and that this led to his death in police custody on 4 October 1995.

In response to a notice from the Commission, the report of the police admitted to the death of the Kartik Mehto in police custody. It added that a case had been registered against a Sub Inspector under section 302 IPC. The Sub Inspector had surrendered before a Court and was being dealt with in accordance with law.

In the light of the report received, the Commission directed the Government of Bihar to pay immediate interim compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs to the family of the deceased and to recover this amount from the accused. The Commission also recommended that employment be given to one of the members of the family of the deceased, in accordance with his/her educational qualifications. Of the total amount of the compensation awarded, the Commission directed that 50 per cent be kept in a fixed deposit in the name of the widow of the deceased, who may be allowed to draw on the interest every quarter.

In this case the Commission had, by its order dated 28 January 2000 directed the State of Bihar to pay a compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the family of the deceased and employment to one of the members of the family.

In compliance, the State Government of Bihar issued a sanction dated 10 June 2000 in respect of the payment of Rs.2 lakhs, subject to its recovery from the delinquent public servant. As regards the second recommendation of the Commission, it has stated that employment will be considered in accordance with the guidelines issued by the State Government for making appointments on compassionate grounds. The final action taken report is awaited despite reminders.


Negligence on the Part of Police Leads to the Killing of Mahendra Pal Singh: Uttar Pradesh. (Case No. 39/24/97-98/ACD)

The Commission received a complaint dated 24 February 1997 from a certain Shri Surya Pal Singh alleging that his brother, Mahendra Pal Singh, was brutally murdered on 26 August 1995 while he was under police protection. He was taken into police custody earlier, following a quarrel between Mahendra Pal Singh and Umashanker on some trivial issue. The complainant stated that his brother had to open fire with his gun in self defence, killing two persons, after which Police Constable Preetam Singh Yadav caught hold of his brother and handed him over to Sub Inspector, D.D. Singh, Officer in Charge of Police Post, Police Station Mangalpur, District Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh. The Sub Inspector, after taking the gun, allegedly handed over Mahendra Pal Singh to his assailants who killed him within the premises of the police post. Although a case under Sections 147/302/120-B IPC had been registered and investigation had commenced, no action had been taken against the Sub Inspector of Police who had exposed Mahendra Pal Singh to his assailants.

The Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a report in the matter. In response, the report from the State Government indicated that a case FIR No. 212/95 under section 302 IPC and under section 3(2) (5) of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 had been registered at Police Station, Mangalpur on the complaint of a certain Umashanker Diwakar. After investigation, a final report had been submitted in the case as the accused, Mahendra Pal Singh had died after being attacked by a mob that had used stones and brickbats against him. A cross case No. 212-A/95 under section 147/302/120-B IPC had been registered on the complaint of Sunayna, wife of Mahendra Pal Singh, against Umashanker Diwakar and others and, after investigation, a charge-sheet had been submitted against the accused Umashanker, alias Rama Kant, Beenu, alias Vinay Kumar, Naseer Hamed and Akil under Section 147/302 IPC. It was, however, confirmed that Mahendra Pal Singh had been forcibly taken away by an unruly mob from the custody of police personnel and done to death by the mob.

The Commission noted that, at least, a few of the assailants who had attacked Mahendra Pal Singh with stones and brickbats had been identified and charge-sheeted. The Commission, however, found it difficult to endorse the view of the State Government that the police officials were in no way negligent and that they were helpless, as they had to face a large crowd that was out to break the law. The police report had itself indicated that Mahendra Pal Singh was in police custody when he was forcibly taken away by the agitated members of the unlawful assembly and that he was allowed to be killed by them. There was no indication in the reports as to whether the Sub Inspector, who should have been armed at the time, used his weapon to attempt to disperse the mob, particularly in a situation that was surcharged and in which there was a high probability that Mahendra Pal Singh would have been killed had he been exposed to the agitated mob. The Commission was of the view that the concerned police officer was negligent in the performance of his duty, which required him to protect Mahendra Pal Singh from being assaulted by the members of the unlawful assembly.

Accordingly, the Commission recommended to the State Government of Uttar Pradesh through its Chief Secretary that it

Initiate departmental action against Sub Inspector, D.D. Singh, Officer-in-charge of the Police Post and other officials for negligence in not protecting Mahendra Pal Singh and allowing him to be killed by the members of an unlawful assembly.

Pay a sum of Rs. 1.00 lakh to the next-of-kin of the deceased within a period of one month.

The matter relates to negligence on the part of the police of Uttar Pradesh resulting in the killing of Mahendra Pal Singh while he was under police protection.

In this case, in its proceedings of 25 May 2000, the Commission recommended that the Government of Uttar Pradesh initiate department action against Sub-Inspector, D.D.Singh, Officer-in-charge of the police post and other officials for negligence in not protecting Mahendra Pal Singh and allowing him to be killed by the members of an unlawful assembly and also to pay a sum of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

The Government of Uttar Pradesh requested the Commission for a review of its orders on the ground that the complaint should not have been considered by the Commission because of the provisions of Section 36 (2) of the Protection of the Human Rights Act, 1993 and, further a charge sheet had already been filed against the accused. The Commission accepted the view of the State Government and closed the case on 26 February 2002.


Year 2001-2002

Custodial death of Mohammad Irshad Khan : Delhi (Case No.2387/30/2000-2001-CD)

The Commission received information from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), North East District, Delhi about the death of Mohammad Irshad Khan. A complaint was also received from Shri Acchan Khan, father of the deceased, alleging that his son had died as a result of brutal beating by the police. Shri Acchan Khan added that the family of the victim had not been informed of the circumstances of the death. The intervention of the Commission was requested, as also an independent investigation into the case and protection for the complainant’s family in view of threats by the police personnel who had been accused of being involved in the death of Mohammad Irshad Khan. In response to a notice from the Commission, the Home Secretary, Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, stated that the matter had been investigated by DCP (Vigilance), Delhi. The latters’ report indicated that, on 12 October 2000, while the victim was driving his two wheeler scooter, he had collided with a cycle rickshaw. In a scuffle that ensued, a policeman had intervened and reportedly beaten the victim, who had collapsed on the spot. The victim was then taken to GTB Hospital, where he was declared to have been brought dead on arrival. A case FIR No.274 had been registered at Police Station Usmanpur and the accused Sub Inspector Vijay Kumar and Constable, Swatantra Kumar had been arrested. A magisterial inquiry had been conducted by the SDM, Seelampur. A further report, dated 9 April 2001 from the Deputy Secretary, Home Department, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, stated that a chargesheet had been filed against the delinquent police officials u/s 302/34 IPC. Upon further consideration of the matter, the Commission directed that a showcause notice be issued to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi asking as to why immediate interim relief in the amount of Rs.3 lakhs u/s 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act be not granted to the next-of-kin of the deceased. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, in response, stated that Rs.3 lakhs had been sanctioned towards the payment of compensation to the next-ofkin of the deceased. It was later confirmed that the amount was paid to the wife of the deceased on 30 May 2001.


Custodial death of Ram Kishore — complaint by Uttar Pradesh Parjapati Samaj Vikas Parishad (Case No.483-LD/93-94)

The Commission received a complaint from the Uttar Pradesh Parjapati Samaj Vikas Parishad alleging that one Ram Kishore, a driver employed by M/s Goodwill Enterprises, Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad had been killed while in police custody. The complaint stated that Ram Kishore had realised an amount of Rs.1.5 lakh from certain parties in Meerut on behalf of his employers on 15 July 1993. However, later that day he had been the victim of an armed robbery in Modi Nagar in which incident all the money had been taken away from him. Despite this, he was handed over to the police by his employers for interrogation, in the course of which he was tortured in the police station. Ram Kishore was not released despite approaches being made to the District Magistrate and SSP, Ghaziabad. He died on the night of 23 July 1993. Thereafter, in order to hush-up the case, the dead body was taken to the District Hospital, Ghaziabad and the post-mortem report was manipulated as to the cause of death, the evidence of torture being destroyed. The Commission was requested to intervene, investigation was sought by the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and compensation urged for the widow of the victim. Upon notice being issued to the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the latter directed the State CID to conduct an enquiry. Despite this, considerable delays occurred, requiring the Commission to pursue this matter relentlessly over a number of years. Finally, on 4 April 2000, the Government of Uttar Pradesh informed the Commission that a chargesheet had been submitted u/s 302/343/330/217/ 218/201/34/120 B IPC in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ghaziabad against the proprietor of the M/s Goodwill Enterprises, Shri R.P. Chada, the then Inspector In-charge, Shri R.B. Pathak and the concerned Sub-Inspector Shri Jawahar Lal. Further, in departmental proceedings, a warning had been issued to an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), and a misconduct entry made in the record of another Sub Inspector. It was added that departmental action was under consideration in respect of another ASP, an accused doctor and an SDM. A warning had also been issued to the SDM, Modi Nagar. In its proceedings of 19 September 2001, the Commission held that the fact of the prosecution of public servants in itself was sufficient proof and justification for award of immediate interim relief. It accordingly issued a showcause notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh asking as to why such relief be not granted to the next-of-kin of the deceased u/s 18(3) of the Act. The State Government was also asked to intimate the action taken against the remaining delinquent public servants. As no reply was received from the Government of Uttar Pradesh within the time stipulated, the Commission proceeded to order the payment of compensation in the amount of Rs.3 lakhs as immediate interim relief to the next-of-kin of the deceased.

Since no reply was received from the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to the Show cause notice issued to it, the Commission directed the payment of compensation in the amount of Rs.3.00 lakhs as immediate interim relief to the next of kin of the deceased. The State Government issued the necessary sanciton for the payment of this amount.


Death of Shishu Rebe due to torture in police custody : Arunachal Pradesh(Case No.74/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission received information from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh about the death of one Shishu Rebe who was arrested on 10 March 1996 on a murder charge and kept in Chiyangtigo police station lock-up, where he died on 29 March 1996. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission a final investigation report was received from the Superintendent of Police (SP) Headquarters Itanagar, Government of Arunachal Pradesh. It indicated that the deceased had been tortured by a Sub- Inspector and that a charge-sheet had been filed against Sub-Inspector u/s 304 in a case that was now before the Sessions Courts, Seppa. A sum of Rs.30,000 had also been sanctioned by the State Government to be paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased. In its proceedings dated 31 July 2001, the Commission opined that the amount of compensation appeared to be inadequate and a subsequently show cause notice was issued to the State Government asking as to why a sum of Rs.1 lakh should not be paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased and disciplinary action initiated against the delinquent public servant. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh, in its reply dated 28 August 2001, indicated that it had no objection to pay the compensation amount as directed by the Commission, including the sum of Rs.30,000 already paid by it. As regards disciplinary action against the delinquent public servant, it was stated that since case No.3/96 u/s 304 IPC was pending trial, disciplinary action would be taken after the trial of the case was completed. The Commission, in its order dated 16 October 2001, recommended that the balance of Rs.70,000 be paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased as an amount of Rs.30,000 had already been paid by the State Government. As regards the disciplinary action against the concerned official, the Commission directed that departmental proceedings should be pursued even while the criminal case was pending, since the criminal proceedings and the departmental proceedings were independent of each other and this matter had been settled by several judgments of the Supreme Court.

By its proceedings dated 16 March 2001, the Commission had recommended the payment of a sum of Rs.100,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased and also directed that disciplinary action be taken against the concerned officers. As the State Government complied with the Commission's directions, the case was closed on 4 March 2003.

 

Year 2002-2003

Death in custody of former Sarpanch of Gogon Village, Chuhur Singh due to negligence: Punjab (Case No.431/19/2000-2001)

The Commission took suo motu congnizance of a newspaper report published in ‘The Tribune’ of 11 September 2000 about the death of a former Sarpanch of Gogon Village, Churhur Singh, while in police custody in 10 September 2000.  The victim had allegedly been arrested in a poppy-husk smuggling case and had died in the hospital while in custody. In response to the Commission’s notice, the District Magistrate Hoshiarpur, submitted a report.  It indicted the Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mahilpur Police Station, for negligence.  It was indicated in the report that he had acted against the advice of the doctor on emergency duty, and had taken Chuhur Singh to the court thus worsening his condition.  A departmental enquiry had, therefore been initiated against the Assistant Sub Inspector.  The report, however, denied any torture or beating by the Mahilpur Police, as alleged by relatives of the deceased. In view of this finding of negligence in providing timely medical aid, the Commission issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab to show cause, within four weeks, as to why Rs.50,000/- be not paid as immediate interim relief under section 18 (3) of the Act to the next of kin of the deceased.

In its proceedings dated 22 May 2002 the Commission considered the reply from the Government of Punjab which stated that the question of compensation be kept in abeyance till the finalization of the enquiry.  The Commission, however, overruled this objection and pointed out the purpose of Section 18 (3) of the Act, viz. the provision of immediate interim relief in instances where a strong prima facie case of the violation of human rights had been made out.  This did not need to await determination of final liability in another proceedings.  The Commission observed that the concept of immediate interim relief ceases to be meaningful if it is subjected to the final determination of the existence of the guilt of the violator.  The Government of Punjab was accordingly directed to pay the compensation.

 

Death of Bujhai in police custody due to torture: Uttar Pradesh (Case No.4238/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission received a communication dated 2 August 1996 from the Superintendent of Police, Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh concerning the death of Bujhai on 30 May 1994, while in police custody, in connection with case No.54/94 registered against the deceased for murder.  The magisterial enquiry referred to conflicting statements and, therefore, recommended a CID enquiry.  Accordingly, case No.121/96 was registered at Bevana Police Station for investigation.

Upon consideration of the report received from the police authorities of the State, and given the inconsistencies that had been noted in respect of this case, the Commission directed its own Investigation division to look into this matter.  Pursuant to the recommendation of the Investigation Division, the Commission directed then State Government to have the matter investigated by the CB CID.  Pursuant to this directive, the State CB CID submitted a report on 28 December 2000 in which it stated that 11 police officials had been held responsible for committing offences under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and that chargesheets had been submitted in the court.

In its proceedings dated 11 March 2002, the Commission sought information on the current status of the prosecution and issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh to show cause as to why immediate interim relief under section 18 (3) of the Act be not awarded to the next of kin of the deceased. As no reply was received from the State of Uttar Pradesh in spite of reminders, by its order dated 12 June 2002 the Commission held that the Government of Uttar Pradesh has no cause to show against the award of immediate relief and proceeded to award immediate interim relief of Rs. 1,00,000 to the next of kin of the deceased.

 

Death of Radhey Shyam in police custody due to torture: Rajasthan (Case No.205/20/1999-2000-CD)

On 12 May 1999, the Commission was informed by the Superintendent Police, District Jhalawar, of the death of Radhey Shyam, son of Ram Lal Darji, resident of Bacchapur, District Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh in the custody of Gangdhar Police Station, Jhalawar District, Rajasthan during the night of 6 May 1999. Upon notice being served to the Government of Rajasthan, the Home (HR) Department sent a report to the Commission dated 2 April 2000.  It indicated that Radhey Shyam along with two others, was arrested in case No.65/99 on 5 May 1999 by police personnel of Gangdhar Police Station.  He was brought to the police station and subjected to torture during interrogation.  His dead body was, thereafter, disposed of in order to destroy evidence, and his family members were threatened.  The State Government registered a case and entrusted investigation to CB CID.  During investigation, a crime was established against the Station House Officer and four constables.  The State Government had paid an ex-gratia amount of Rs. 50,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased. After considering the report, the Commission asked for a progress report and information concerning the outcome of the action initiated by the State Government against the concerned public servants.  It also issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan to shoe cause why a further sum be not awarded under section 18 (3) of the Act as immediate interim relief.  By its proceedings dated 13 May 2002, the Commission considered by reply submitted by the Government of Rajasthan, which stated that a charge-sheet had been submitted against the guilty police personnel in a court of law and that the amount of Rs. 50,000/- already paid to the next of kin of the deceased be accepted as the final payment for the custodial death of the deceased.

The Commission held that the amount paid was inadequate compensation for the life of a human being and directed the Government of Rajasthan to pay a further amount of Rs.1,00,000 to the next of kin of the deceased.  In response, the State Government of Rajasthan indicated that it had paid the additional amount of Rs. 1,00,000 on 19 August 2002, in compliance with the directive of the Commission.

 

Death of Karan Singh in police custody due to violence: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.1935/12/2000-2001-CD)

The Commission received a communication dated 24 October 2000 from the collector and District Magistrate, Morena, Madhya Pradesh stating that, on the basis of an information received, police personnel from the Ambah Police Station had conducted a raid and arrested persons involved in gambling on 24 October 2000.  It was further stated that one of them, Karan Singh, who was in an intoxicated condition, was admitted in the Ambah Hospital, District Morena where he expired.  Upon notice being issued to the Home Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, the Sub divisional Magistrate, Ambah sent a copy of the magisterial inquiry report on 16 February 2001 which stated that Karan Singh had died in the custody of Ambah Police Station on 24 October 2000 due to custodial violence and that the Assistant Sub Inspector and Head Constable were responsible for his death.

On 26 February 2002, the Commission called for a report on the legal and departmental action taken against the delinquent police personnel who had been held responsible for the death of Karan Singh and also issued notice to the Government of Madhya Pradesh to show cause as to why immediate interim relief under section 18 (3) of the Act be not granted.  The Home Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, submitted a report dated 5 June 2002 which indicated that, on the basis of a case under section 304 and 34 IPC read with 3(2) 5 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the accused had been arrested, produced in court and a charge-sheet had been filed in court on 10 May 2001. Further, the widow of the deceased had been paid interim relief in the amount of Rs.1,50,000 on 6 November 2000.  The balance of Rs. 50,000/- would be paid upon the completion of the case in the court.  In the light of the action taken by the State Government, the Commission decided to close the case.

 

Death of Surendra in police: Kerala (Case No.13353/96-97/NHRC)

The Commission received a complaint dated 21 December 1996 from the Christian Cultural Forum alleging the custodial death due to torture of Shri Surendran, a resident of Kazhakkottam, Kerala, in police custody in Kazhakkoottam, on 19 December 1996.  The victim was taken into custody the pervious day, but was not produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours as required.  The Christian cultural Forum requested the Commission to take action against the guilty police personnel. In response to the Commission’s notice, a report submitted by the Government of Kerala admitted that the death had occurred in Police custody.  By its proceedings dated 17 August 1999, the Commission accordingly directed the Government of kerala to pay a sum of Rs.300,000 to the next of kin of the deceased.  It also stated that the State CID should conduct an investigation in respect of this matter with a view to prosecuting the errant police personnel and that, in addition, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against the police personnel responsible for the death.

 The Government of Kerala challenged the order of the Commission 17 August 1999 before the Kerala High Court at Ernakulam in Writ Petition No.14275 of 2000 on the grounds that the Commission did not have the jurisdiction to issue these directions.  The State Government argued that the directions had been issued in violation of sections 17 & 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, as they had been made without conducting a proper enquiry and without giving an opportunity to the State and the police officers against whom the complaint was made.  The High Court, by its order dated 6 August 2002, found that the post-mortem report indicated ante-mortem injuries including abrasions and contusions.  As this was a proven case of custodial death, the High Court did not find any justification for interfering with the directions of the Commission.  The writ petition was, therefore, dismissed.

Year 2003-2004

Death of Zakir in Police Custody at Pushp Vihar Police Station, New Delhi (CaseNo.525/30/2001-2002-CD)

The Commission was informed by the Dy. Commissioner of Police (South District.), Delhi of the custodial death of Zakir in the Police Station of Pushp Vihar, New Delhi on 12 May 2001. The Commission registered a case and called for relevant report from the concerned authority. In view of the conclusion arrived in the magisterial inquiry with regard to the custodial death of Zakir that “the death was caused by use of blunt force during the course of interrogation and detention in the Police Chowki, Pushp Vihar” and that the involved police officers were prosecuted by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, the Commission awarded immediate interim relief under section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. It also issued a show cause notice to the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.
In response, the Government of NCT brought to the notice of the Commission that the accused had already been charge-sheeted and the case was pending in the Court for verdict and that in the given circumstances they had no objection to pay interim relief to the bereaved family.
Upon consideration of their response, the Commission directed the Government of NCT of Delhi to pay Rs. 2.00 lakhs as immediate interim relief to the next of kin of the deceased.
Pursuant to the directions given by the Commission, the Government of NCT indicated that a cheque for Rs.2.00 lakhs had been delivered to Ms. Jannat, wife of Late Shri Zakir, and the proof of the payment was also submitted. In the light of the action taken by the Government of NCT of Delhi, Commission decided to close the case.
 

Death of Madan Bhilala in Police Custody at Balawar Police Station, Distt. Khargaon: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.71/12/2001-2002-CD)

The case relates to the custodial death of Madan Bhilala in Balawar police Station, District Khargaon, Madhya Pradesh on 27 April 2001. On perusal of the post-mortem report, the Commission noticed that the cause of death was hypovolemic shock due to dehydration. The Commission also observed that according to the findings in the magisterial enquiry, the deceased was kept in illegal detention since 21 April 2001 at Balwara police Station and that the police was responsible for the death of the deceased.
In response the Commission’s show cause notice issued to the Government of Madhya Pradesh, as to why Rs. 1.00 lakh be not paid as immediate interim relief under section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to the next of the kin of the deceased and appropriate action taken against the errant police officials, the State Government requested the Commission to re-consider the matter as the cause of death of Madan Bhilala was due to dehydration and not police torture.
On further re-examination, the Commission did not find any ground to recall its earlier order. The Commission noticed that the magisterial inquiry had indicated that the death was due to dehydration caused by diarrhoea as per the Medical Officer’s report. The Commission held that these findings clearly indicated that the death was not merely due to illegal detention of the deceased, but also, negligence in providing medical care while he was in detention. The commission, therefore, directed the State Government to pay a sum of Rs.25,000/- as immediate interim relief to the legal heirs of the deceased.
Pursuant to the Commission’s directions, the Government of Madhya Pradesh had sent a report indicating that an amount of Rs. 25,000/- was paid to the legal heirs of the deceased. Proof of payment was also furnished to the Commission. Since the directions of the Commission were complied with and the compensation was paid to the next of the kin of the ceased, the case was closed.
 

Death of Chhigga in the Police Custody at P.S. Sirsi, District Guna: Madhya Pradesh (Case No.1800/12/2000-2001-CD)

The Commission initiated proceedings in this case on the basis of an intimation received from the Superintendent of Police, District Guna, Madhya Pradesh about the death of Chhigga on 16 October 2000 in police custody at Police Station Sirsi, District Guna, Madhya Pradesh.
Upon consideration of the report of magisterial inquiry, the Commission held that inability to provide proper and regular treatment while in police custody caused the death of Chhigga. The Commission further held that though the injuries caused to him were not attributed to any maltreatment by police personnel, the negligence of the concerned public servants in not providing the timely medical treatment during police custody was the immediate and proximate cause of death.
In response to the show cause notice issued by the Commission, the Government of Madhya Pradesh stated that as no police personnel were held responsible for the death of Chhigga in the magisterial inquiry, it would not be appropriate to grant interim relief to the family of the deceased. Upon considering the report, the Commission felt that the response given by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to the show cause notice was not satisfactory as both the magisterial inquiry and the report of the District Magistrate, Guna unequivocally showed that the injuries received by Chhigga in a scuffle, which eventually caused his death, were compounded due to non-availability to proper and timely medical treatment while he was in the police custody. According to the magisterial inquiry report, the deceased, who was sent for treatment to the hospital while in police custody, was denied food on the ground that it was not available in the hospital while in police custody, was denied food on the ground that it was not available in the hospital. He was also asked to pay Rs. 35/- for the X-ray. On being informed by the deceased that he did not have any money with him, he was sent away to get money for getting the X-ray done and purchase of medicine although technically he was still in custodia-legis. All this signified that the hospital was not functioning in a proper way. The Commission therefore directed the Chief Secretary to consider asking the Health Secretary to look into the functioning of the hospital and take such remedial steps as deemed necessary.
Accordingly, the Commission recommended that the next of kin of the deceased Chhigga be paid a sum of Rs.20,000/- by way of immediate interim relief under section 18(3) of the Act. Pursuant to the Commission’s directions of the Government of Madhya Pradesh informed that the payment of Rs.20,000/- has been made to the next of the kin of the deceased. The case is being monitored by the Commission.

 

Year 2004-2005

Death of Sher Mohammad in Police custody by torture: U.P. – Case No. 8924/95-96/NHRC

The Superintendent of Police, Badaun, Uttar Pradesh vide his communication dated 23 February 1996 intimated the Commission about the death of Sher Mohammad s/o Abdul Rashid, an under trial prisoner, who was arrested on 22nd February 1996 in case No. 29/96 u/s 25 of Arms Act and case No. 20/96 u/s 364 IPC by the police from the Binowar police station. It was reported that the under trial, Sher Mohammad fell ill and he died while on the way to the District Hospital, Badaun on 23 February 1996.
In response to the notice issued by the Commission, the post mortem report and the magisterial enquiry report were sent to the Commission. A perusal of the Magisterial Inquiry Report showed that the said under trial prisoner was beaten up by the SHO, while being interrogated in the two cases registered against him, and died as a result of police torture. A criminal case was registered against the SHO and a charge sheet was filed in court u/s 302/323 IPC.
While considering the matter on 14th January 2004 the Commission agreed with the magisterial inquiry, that it was a case of custodial death which was caused as a result of severe beating of the under trial while in custody of the police. The Commission, therefore, directed the issuance of notice to the Chief Secretary, State Govt. of U.P. to show-cause why “immediate interim relief” of Rupees one lakh u/s 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 be not given to the next of kin of the deceased. However, since no response was received from Chief Secretary to the show cause notice, on further consideration of the matter, the Commission on 21 April 2004, directed the State Government of U.P. to pay an interim relief of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. The Commission also observed that death in police custody is one of the worst kind of crimes in a civilized society governed by the rule of law and poses a serious threat to an orderly civilized society. Torture in custody flouts the basic rights of the citizens and is an affront to human dignity. Police excesses and torture in custody of the detainees/ under trial prisoners or suspects tarnishes the image of a civilized nation and it is necessary to take stern measures to check the malady. The National Police Commission in its 4th Report of June 1980, almost a quarter of a century ago, noticed the prevalence of custodial torture and observed that nothing is “so dehumanizing” as the conduct of police in practicing torture of any kind on the person in their custody.
The National Human Rights Commission having been constituted under the 1993 Act for better protection of human rights and civil liberties of the citizen has not only the jurisdiction but also an obligation to grant relief in appropriate cases to the victims or the heirs of the victims whose right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution has been flagrantly infringed by the State functionaries by calling upon the State to repair the damage done by its officers to the human rights of the citizen. The State, in all such cases, is vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of its officers. When the State is called upon to grant monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased or the victims of torture as the case may be, by the Commission it is because the doctrine of strict liability of duty of care on the part of the State is attracted to such cases. It is reiterated that the State is vicariously responsible, if the person in the custody of the police is deprived of his life except according to the procedure established by law, to recompense the heirs of the victims.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh submitted its compliance report in respect of the payment of rupees one lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.
 

Death of Sh. Kantosh Prahlad Jadhav, in Police Custody by torture : Latur, Maharashtra - (Case No. 5418/95-96/NHRC)

The Commission received an intimation dated 28.10.1995 from the District Superintendent of Police (DISPOL), Latur, Maharashtra stating that one Kantosh Prahlad Jadhav aged 22 years was arrested on 28.10.1995 in PS MIDC, Latur Cr. No. 93/95 u/s 324,504 IPC & 135 Bombay Police Act. He had further stated that the accused, while in custody, committed suicide by hanging himself to the iron rod of the ventilator of the police lock up with the help of torn part of ghangadi (blanket) provided to him.

In response to the Commission’s notice dated 3.11.1995, the inquest report received showed no signs of beating either on the front side or back side of the body. The report further stated that post-mortem report indicated no external or internal injuries on the body of the deceased and the cause of death was opined as “asphyxia due to hanging”. The SDM in his enquiry report concluded that on the basis of statements of witnesses and on examination of the post-mortem report, the death of the Kantosh was due to suicide committed by him by hanging. However, he observed that there were other factors also such as, negligence and lack of responsibility on the part of police officials, which resulted in the incident.

The Government of Maharastra submitted an action taken report on the magisterial enquiry, which indicated that the accused police officials were placed under suspension and departmental enquiry had been initiated against the delinquent officials.

The Commission vide its proceedings dated 2.8.2004, while considering the Magisterial Enquiry Report and the departmental action taken against the police officials, directed Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra to show cause why interim relief should not be paid to the next of kin of the deceased.

In response the Home Department, Govt. of Maharashtra vide communication dated 7.10.2004 informed the Commission that the State Govt. has decided to grant relief of Rs. 50,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased, Kantosh Prahlad Jadhav and after obtaining approval of the Commission, further action for disbursement of relief will be taken.

The Commission vide its proceedings dated 20.10.2004 considered the case and approved the grant of Rs. 50,000/- as “interim relief” to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased Kantosh Prahalad Jadhav. Compliance report from the Government of Maharastra was still awaited.

 

Custodial death of Haji Mohd. Nabuji Tentwala in police custody in Ahmedabad- Case No.7586/95-96/NHRC

The Commission on 19.1.1996 received an intimation dated 18.1.1996 from the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad City, Gujarat regarding death of Haji Mohd. Nabuji Tentwala in police custody on 12.7.1995. It was stated that he was arrested in connection with Cr.Case No.106/95 u/s 302/342/34 IPC and S. 135 B.P.Act. by the police who tied him with rope, beat him with sticks, fists and kicks to death. The report further indicated that two of the accused police persons namely PSI J.V.Surela & PC Bharatkumar were arrested and bailed out on 31.10.1995 and 2.1.1996 respectively.

In response to the notice issued by the Commission, the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad City submitted the post-mortem, inquest and magisterial inquiry reports. As per the post mortem report the body of the deceased was having 23 ante-mortem injuries and the cause of death was indicated as “due to shock as a result of injuries present on the body”. The inquest report conducted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ahmedabad City indicated that there were signs of blunt weapon blows on various parts of the body. The magisterial inquiry conducted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ahmedabad City blamed the PSI Surela and ACP Brahm Bhatt and other police personnel for the death of Haji Mohd. Tentwala and recommended investigation to pin point the responsibility of the death and to ascertain the actual culprits from the police staff.

A separate report dated 20.7.1996 submitted by the District Magistrate, Ahmedabad, Gujarat indicated that a case No.19/95 u/s 302/323/504/114, IPC had been registered by the Crime Branch against PSI Surela and 4-5 police personnel and another case No.20/95 was registered u/s 330/342 against the main accused PSI Surela, PCs Navneet , Bharat Rathore, Raju and ACP Brahm Bhutt and four other police personnel.

On consideration of the records of the case the Commission held that the deceased was wrongfully arrested by the police for interrogation in a criminal case and was brutally thrashed to extract confession. Consequently, he suffered as many as 23 injuries, which resulted in his death. It is a case of gross violation of human rights. Accordingly, the Commission directed to issue notice to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat to show cause as to why the Commission should not recommend payment of interim relief u/s 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to the next of kin of the deceased.

In response to the Show Cause Notice, the Secretary, Home Department, Government of Gujarat, vide letter dated 19.6.2004 submitted that criminal offences had been registered against the police personnel responsible for beating up the accused and departmental action had also been initiated and are pending final outcome. It was acknowledged that human rights violation had taken place and the State Government had taken appropriate action against the concerned accused police personnel. The report further mentioned that for the violation of human rights, both criminal and departmental proceedings had already been initiated and awaiting final outcome. In the circumstances the Home Secretary requested that the show cause notice may be withdrawn and further action may be considered after the outcome of the criminal proceedings pending before the Court.

The Commission considered the response received from the State Government on 22.9.2004. While referring to the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Neelbati Behra Vs. State of Orissa, 1993 (2) SCC 746, it observed and ordered as under:

(a) This Commission has taken a consistent stand that the obligation of the State to ensure safety of persons while in its custody is strict and absolute and admits of no exception. The indefeasible right to life of every citizen, including convicts, prisoners or under-trials, cannot be taken away except in accordance with the procedure established by law, while the citizen is in the custody of the State. Violation of that right renders the State vicariously liable for its acts of commission and omission and such liability is not contingent upon determination of the ultimate guilt of the offenders in a criminal court. Besides, death in police custody as a result of torture is perhaps the worst type of crime in civilized society.

(b) It is now an established law that the failure of the State to take all possible steps to protect the life of the citizens while in its custody makes the State vicariously liable for its action / omission.

(c) Immediate interim relief envisaged in Section 18 (3) of the Act has to be correlated to the injury / loss which the victim or members of his family have suffered owing to the violation of human rights by public servants. By no stretch of imagination can it be argued that award of this immediate interim has to be dependent upon the strict establishment of criminal liability after a full dress court trial. If this view is accepted, the relief will then neither be immediate nor interim. A meaningful and harmonious construction of this clause would leave no doubt that the Commission is entitled to invoke its benevolent sweep on a prima-facie view of the matter irrespective of whether there is any litigation – civil or criminal relating to the matter.

(d) The idea of immediate interim relief does not therefore, presuppose the establishment of criminal liability of the offender in a court of law as a precondition for the grant of the relief nor does it depend on whether any civil litigation is either pending or prospective. A welfare state must recognize its obligation to afford relief to its citizens in distress, particularly those who are victims of violations of their human rights by public servants. The limiting of such statutory relief only to cases in which criminal liability of the offending public servant is established in a court of law beyond reasonable doubt is, to thwart an otherwise civilized piece of legislation by importing totally irrelevant limitations. The Commission desires to point out that the ground urged by the Government in this case, when it has been acknowledged by the State itself that there has been violation of human rights of the citizen, is misconceived.

Accordingly, the Commission recommended to the State Government of Gujarat to pay a sum of rupees one lakh by way of interim relief to the next of kin of the deceased and to submit compliance report to the Commission within four weeks.
Vide communications dated 13/5/2005 and 14/9/2005, the State Government has informed that it has implemented the recommendations of the Commission and submitted proof of payment of one lakh to the widow of the deceased. Accordingly, the case was closed by the Commission.

 

 


Judicial Custody

Year 1997-98

Custodial death of Asit Kumar Chaturvedi : Uttar Pradesh

This case was taken up by the Commission on receipt of a complaint from a certain Shri Amit Kumar Chaturvedi alleging that his brother, Asit Kumar Chaturvedi, an undertrial prisoner in District Jail, Agra died as a result of injuries inflicted while in jail custody.

Report of the Deputy Inspector General (Prisons), Agra Range received by the Commission on this incident stated that the death of Shri Asit Kumar Chaturvedi was due to head and body injuries sustained by him as a result of convulsions arising out of high fever, which was followed by his going into a coma. This, the Commission observed, was indicative of the extent to which imagination, pressed to convenience, could stretch itself. While the report stated, that following high fever, Shri Asit Kumar Chaturvedi was admitted to SN Medical College, Agra, that his family members arrived there to take care of him and that he died within two days after being released on bail, the Commission noted that the report was silent as to what was done to Shri Chaturvedi while he was in custody prior to his being sent to the hospital.

Finding the report unsatisfactory and inadequate, the Commission asked its Investigation Wing to look into the matter. The Commission’s investigation prima-facie indicated that the prisoner was severely beaten up by the jail staff. There was evidence of witnesses to indicate torture and inhuman physical violence directed against the person of the prisoner. The Additional City Magistrate also, in his report, on the basis of an examination of the post mortem report, panchnama and other records, concluded that Asit Kumar Chaturvedi had died due to head and other injuries that he had suffered in the Central Jail, Agra.

In view of the above, the Commission felt that this was a case in which there was a strong probability of custodial torture leading to the death of the undertrial and the jail authorities could not escape their responsibility.

Pursuant to the recommendations of the Commission, the Uttar Pradesh Government has informed the Commission that it has sanctioned a sum of Rs.1, 00,000/- as compensation to the next to the kin of the deceased.

The Commission also recommended that the Uttar Pradesh Government get the matter fully investigated by the State CID and prosecute all those found responsible for this tragic death and the subsequent attempt to cover up the facts.

The Commission in its proceedings noted that the jail authorities had a moral, legal and constitutional obligation to ensure that prisoners in jail were not harassed or treated with violence. It observed that even convicted prisoners were not divested of their fundamental rights, the curtailment of which could only be in accordance with the sentence imposed on them. The Commission expressed surprise that senior prison officials, who were under a statutory obligation to conduct an investigation fairly, honestly and in a manner which promoted the ascertainment of truth, did so in a manner which gave rise to a serious suspicion of connivance in a cover-up.


Year 1999-2000

Death of Jaggannath Paoji Ingule, failure on the part of the Medical Officer to diagnose at an appropriate time : Maharashtra( Case No. 16102/96-97/NHRC )

The undertrial prisoner, Jagannath Paoji Ingule, aged 44 years, was received in Nasik Road prison from Thane Central Prison on 7 May 1995. After nearly one-and-a-half years of under-trial custody, he complained of a swelling in the abdomen and general weakness. He was admitted in the Prison Hospital on the same day from where he was referred to the Civil Hospital for expert opinion. Later, he was again admitted in the Prison Hospital with amoebic dysentry and severe anaemia and was referred to the Civil Hospital, Nasik for further treatment. On 3 February 1997, he expired in the Civil Hospital, Nasik.

The inquest report could not arrive at any conclusion on the cause of death. The post-mortem report revealed that the prisoner was suffering from an advanced stage of pulmonary and abdominal tuberculosis. The post-mortem report stated the probable cause of death as cardio-respiratory arrest due to ‘pulmonary tuberculosis and plural effusion’ and ‘abdominal tuberculosis and ascitis and anaemia.’

The Commission considered it unfortunate that the disease was not diagnosed even though the under-trial prisoner was in custody for more than one-and-a-half years. He was being treated for amoebic dysentery while he was actually suffering from an advanced stage of tuberculosis – pulmonary as well as intestinal – a fact which was revealed in the post-mortem and which could have been diagnosed before the illness reached serious proportions. The Commission held that access to adequate, timely and proper medical diagnosis and treatment is an inherent right of prisoners whose freedom to seek and have access to medical aid outside of the prison and on their own is curtailed by law. It further observed that diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis is not any more a sophisticated area of medicine. With the large-scale manifestation of this infectious ailment in the jails, any jail medical staff should reasonably be expected to know, or ought to know, what was the diagnosis of the case that had been admitted.

While holding that there was negligence in the protection of the prisoner’s human right to life and that the dependants of the victim were entitled to immediate interim relief under Section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the Commission recommended that (i) an immediate interim relief of Rs.1 lakh to be paid by the State Government to the dependants of the deceased; and (ii) that the State Government should make a comprehensive appraisal for the control of the spread of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in the prisons and to install, wherever lacking, adequate diagnostic facilities. The Commission has received a compliance report with regard to the payment of Rs. 1 lakh as compensation.

COMMENT

In the case of Shri D.K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610), detailed instructions were given by the Supreme Court on the procedures to be followed by the police in cases of arrest or detention. These instructions, inter-alia, include

* The arrestee should, when he so requests, be medically examined at the time of arrest and major and minor injuries, if any, as are present on his or her body, must be recorded in a memo. The inspection memo should be signed both by the arrestee and by the police officer concerned, and a copy should be given to the arrestee.

* The arrestee should undergo a medical examination by a trained doctor every forty-eight hours of his detention in custody.

The Supreme Court of India imparted a new dimension to the enforceability of these directions by attaching the sanction of commitment for contempt for breach or violation of these requirements. Article 10(1) of the ICCPR requires the State party to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. Article 11 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stipulates that each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment in any Territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of Torture.


Year 2000-2001

Negligence on the Part of Jail Authorities Leads to the Death of an Inmate: Bihar (Case No. 3165/4/1998-99)

In her complaint dated 22 January 1999, Meena Singh, stated that her husband, Sudhir Kumar Singh, who had been in judicial custody for four months in Ranchi Jail, Bihar, had died on 22 January 1999 in the jail premises as a result of the negligence of the jail authorities.

The Commission issued notice to the Home Secretary, Government of Bihar. In response, a report received from the State Government stated that the deceased, Sudhir Singh, alias ‘Bhima’ was an undertrial prisoner since 16 May 1998. It was further reported that on 22 January 1999 at about 7.00 AM when another inmate, Anil Sharma, was taken out of his cell, the latter alongwith his associates, suddenly attacked Sudhir Singh and Hari Singh near Ward No. 2. Owing to this sudden attack, Sudhir Singh was grievously injured and was immediately sent to R.M.L. Hospital where he was declared dead. The report added that a post mortem examination had been held which indicated that the death was caused by sharp-edged weapons. The magisterial enquiry, however, did not rule out the possibility of the involvement or callousness of jail authorities in respect of the events that occurred within the jail premises.

Upon perusing the above report, the Commission noted that there was an outbreak of violence between two groups of inmates near Ward No. 2. Sharp-edged weapons were freely used and Sudhir Singh was killed in the melee that ensued. The jail authorities permitted inmates of the prison to be in possession of sharp-edged weapons and they also let a situation develop in which these weapons were freely used to cause grave injuries to Sudhir Singh leading to his death. The Commission observed that this was an act of gross negligence on the part of the jail authorities.

Having regard to the circumstances, the Commission directed the following:

· The Government of Bihar pay a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation to the complainant, of which Rs. 25,000 should be released to her immediately and the balance deposited in a nationalized bank, for a period of five years, with the interest earned thereon being paid at monthly intervals to her.

· A fully enquiry be instituted by the Inspector General Prisons into the circumstances leading to the possession of lethal weapons by the inmates of the prison and the reasons for the inability to control the violence that occurred on the fateful day of the attack on Sudhir Singh. Action should be instituted against those officials who were responsible for allowing such a situation to develop.

The Commission had directed the Government of Bihar in its proceedings of 24 May 2000 to pay a sum of Rs.2 lakhs as compensation to the complainant, Meena Singh, who had stated that her husband Sudhir Singh, had died in judicial custody as a result of negligence. The Commission had also asked that any enquiry be initiated by the Inspector General of Prisons into the circumstances leading to the possession of lethal weapons by the inmates of Ranchi Jail and the reasons for the inability to control the violence that occurred on the fateful day of the attack on Sudhir Singh. Further, the Commission had asked for the initiation of action against those officials who were responsible for allowing such a situatiion to develop in the manner in which it did.

The Commission has been informed that Rs.2 lakhs was paid to the complainant on 6 April 2001 by the State of Jharkhand. A final report is awaited in respect of the enquiry that was undertaken and the action initiated against the erring officials.

The matter is being pursued with the State Government.

Year 2001-2002

Death of Sanjay Sitaram Mhasker due to custodial violence : Maharashtra (Case No.210/13/98-99-ACD)

The Commission received a complaint alleging that one Sanjay Sitaram Mhasker was picked up by the police on 8 April 1998 and locked-up in a police station. It was alleged that he died after being mercilessly beaten by the police and, thereafter, a conspiracy was hatched to show that he had hanged himself. It was added that the post-mortem had not been conducted properly. Intervention of the Commission was requested for the registration of a case of murder against the guilty police officials and for the payment of compensation. In response to the Commission’s notice issued to the Home Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, a report was submitted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Thane. It confirmed that the death of Sanjay Sitaram Mhasker in police custody was due to beating by the police and added that certain police officials had been held responsible. The Commission after due consideration of the said report, issued a show-cause notice to the Government of Maharashtra asking as to why a sum of Rs.3 lakhs be not awarded to the next-of-kin of the deceased and also called for the action taken by the State Government on the report of the SDM Thane. In response to the show-cause notice, the Government of Maharashtra stated that action to prosecute 19 delinquent public servants had been initiated for custodial violence for causing the death of Sanjay Sitaram Mhasker. In the light of this, the Commission in an order dated 30 July 2001 directed the Government of Maharashtra to pay a sum of Rs.3 lakhs as immediate interim relief u/s 18(3) of the Act to the nextof- kin of the deceased.

As the state Government complied with the directions of the Commission, the case was closed on 3rd October 2002.


Death of Dhirender Singh in Jail : Uttar Pradesh (Case No.21808/24/99-2000/CD)

The Commission, on receiving intimation of the custodial death of a prisoner named Dhirender Singh, in the District Jail, Jaunpur, on 20 January 2000, called for a detailed report from the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The report that was received stated that certain ‘anti-social elements’ had gone to the main gate of the District Jail on that date and had asked for an under-trial prisoner, Jaya Prakash Singh, on the pretext that they had to hand-over a letter to him. Jaya Prakash Singh went to the main gate, where the deceased was also present at that time. The ‘anti-social elements’ fired at Jaya Prakash Singh, but he escaped. However, a stray bullet hit the deceased in his stomach. He was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead. The report further stated that the deceased had gone to the main gate to collect milk, bread and paper as he was authorised to do so. A detailed magisterial inquiry conducted to look into the matter, had however arrived at the conclusion that there was negligence on the part of the jail authorities which resulted in the death of Dhirender Singh. The Commission after considering the report, directed the State Government to remove shortcomings of the kind that had come to light in this case. It also held that the death of Dhirender Singh was due to the negligence/lapse on the part of the prison administration. Accordingly, it issued a show-cause notice to the State Government asking as to why immediate interim relief should not be paid to the next-of-kin of the deceased. Since no reply was received from the Government of Uttar Pradesh to the show-cause notice in spite of a reminder, the Commission through its order of 3 July 2001 concluded that the death of the deceased was due to the negligence on the part of the jail authorities and awarded a sum of Rs.75,000 to the next of kin of the deceased u/s 18(3) of the Act.

As the State Government complied with the directions of the Commission , the case was closed.

 

Year 2002-2003

Death of Sibu – delay in the provision of timely medical aid: Kerala (Case No.136/11/2000-2001-ACD)

Then Commission received a complaint dated 24 June 2000 from Shri M.Unnikrishanan Namboodiri, a resident of Palakkad, Kerala alleging that Sibu alias Sreekuttan expired in the sub-jail, Kottayam while in judicial custody. The petition alleged that Sibu suffered from a pain in his chest but the prison superintendent and a police constable on duty delayed his admission in hospital, which led to his death.
In response to a notice issued by the commission to the Director General of Police, Kerala, the SDM, Kottayam submitted a magisterial inquiry report dated 22 April 2000. It stated that the deceased was arrested in connection with crime No.41/2000 and was remanded to the sub-jail, Kottayam on 6 April 2000. The condition of the deceased worsened on 9 April 2000 but timely action was not taken to extend medical care to him. He died during the night of 9 April 2000. The Superintendent, sub-jail, Kottayam was responsible for not taking the proper steps and not issuing directions to the staff to provide immediate medical assistance to the under-trials.
In its proceedings of 20 November 2000, the Commission held that Sibu appeared to have died because of the denial of timely medical aid, which showed gross negligence on the part of the jail prison superintendent. The Commission, therefore, directed the Government of Kerala to initiate departmental proceedings against the Jail Superintendent for dereliction of duty and also issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala to show cause as to why immediate interim compensation of Rs.50,000/- be not paid to the next of kin of the deceased.
The Government of kerala submitted a reply dated 26 June 2001 indicating that the mother of the deceased had filed a Writ Petition before the Kerala High Court which had directed CBI investigation into the case. The Government, therefore, submitted tat it would be premature to consider the payment of any compensation as any laxity on the part of the jail authorities in giving timely treatment could be established only after getting the report of the CBI. The Commission was, therefore, requested to defer its decision on the show cause notice until a final decision was arrived at on the basis of the inquiry report to be submitted by the CBI before the court, as directed by the High Court of Kerala.
The Commission considered the stand taken by the Government of Kerala and held that the law relating to immediate interim relief is laid down under Section 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Immediate interim relief under Section 18 (3) has to be co-related to the injury or loss which the victim or the members of the family suffered owing to the violation of human rights by public servants. The Commission took the view that the award of immediate interim relief is not dependent upon proof of criminal liability beyond reasonable doubt or the result of the investigation being conducted by the CBI etc. Accordingly, by its proceedings dated 14 June 2002, the Commission directed the Government of Kerala to pay a sum of Rs.50,000/- as interim relief to the next of kin of the deceased. In compliance, the Government of Kerala submitted a report dated 16 October 2002 enclosing a copy of the sanction issued for the payment of Rs.50,000 to the next of kin of the deceased.
 

Custodial death of under-trial prisoner, Harjinder alias Jinda, due to negligence: Uttar Pradesh (Case No.8437/24/1999-2000-CD)

The Commission received intimation from the Superintendent of Police, District Khiri, Uttar Pradesh on 20 August 1999 of the custodial death of an under-trial prisoner, Harjinder alias Jinda, on 19 August 1999.
Upon notice being issued to the Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Home Secretary, Uttar Pradesh submitted an investigation report. It stated that a magisterial enquiry had been held in the case, which concluded that the deceased had died owing to the carelessness and casualness of police officials, while the deceased was being taken to the court under police custody. The police officials responsible were also named in the magisterial enquiry report. However, in view of an inconsistency between the findings of the magisterial enquiry report and the postmortem report, the latter indicating that the deceased had died due to “asphyxia as a result of ante-mortem drowning”, the Commission in its proceedings dated 23 May 2001 directed the Government of Uttar Pradesh to entrust the matter to the CB CID for further investigation. It also directed the State Government to show cause as to why suitable interim compensation be not paid to the next of kin of the deceased.
Since no reply was received from the State Government within the time stipulated, the Commission, in its proceedings dated 14 June 2002 concluded that the undertrial prisoner Harjinder, had died in judicial custody for the reasons recorded in the findings of the Executive Magistrate, ie. “negligence and casualness on the part of police personnel”.
The Commission also held that then State is vicariously liable for the death of the undertrial prisoner. Accordingly, it recommended a sum of Rs. 100,000 as immediate interim relief to the next of kin of the deceased.
 

Murder of Manak Ram and grievous injuries to his son in jail: Rajasthan (Case No. 263/20/98-99-ACD)

The Commission received a complaint dated 26 April 1998 from Shri Gumna Ram, a resident of District Jodhpur, Rajasthan, alleging the murder of a prisoner, Manak Ram, on 16 January 1998 by Bhim Singh Purohit and others in the premises of Mandor open jail. The accused also attacked Manak Ram’s son, Mangi Lal. One of whose hands was amputated; he also sustained a grievous injury in one ear. The complainant sought action against the accused and payment of compensation.
Upon notice being issued to the Government of Rajasthan, the Commission received an investigation report which indicated that, in respect of the murder, a case had been registered at the Police Station, Mandor under various sections of the IPC read with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A charge sheet had been filed against the accused. The report further stated that the accused had made an unauthorized entry into the open jail and had committed the offences in quarter.
In its proceedings dated 22 May 2002, the Commission directed that a sum of Rs. 2,00,000 was required to be paid by the State Government of Rajasthan, in accordance with Sl.No.20 of Annexure I of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 read with Rule 12(4) of the said Rules framed under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to the family of the deceased Manak Ram. Further, under Sr. No.19 of the said Rules, a sum of Rs. 100,000 was required to be paid to Mangi Lal because of the disability suffered on account of the amputation of a hand and the previous injury in one ear. Seventy five percent of the amount was to be paid forthwith, since the charge-sheet had been filed in the court. The Commission, therefore, asked the Government of Rajasthan to make immediate payment in the discharge of its statutory obligations, and to submit a compliance report within eight weeks. Ancillary action was also recommended against the public servants who might be found responsible for any dereliction of duty. The Commission received a report indicating compliance in respect of payment of interim relief by the State Government. A report on the action initiated against the guilty public servants was still awaited.

 

Year 2003-2004

Death of Sanjay Sharma in District Jail, Mathura: Uttar Pradesh(Case No.41373/24/2000-2001-CD)

The Commission initiated proceedings on the basis of an intimation received regarding the death of Sanjay Sharma, an under-trial prisoner, on 21 March 2001 in the District, Jail, Mathura. Based on the records of the case, the Commission noted that there had been negligence on the part of authorities in providing medical treatment to Sanjay Sharma. In response to the show cause notice issued by the Commission, the Government of Uttar Pradesh sent a report stating that Dr. A.K.Yadav, Medical Officer was issued a show cause notice and that a criminal case was also registered against the errant police officials and that the case was under investigation.
Upon perusal of the report, the Commission held that the pendency of civil or criminal proceedings or investigation was no ground for not granting any immediate interim relief. The Commission noted that a show cause notice was issued to the concerned Medical Officer for the negligence in treating the deceased, and, that a criminal case was also registered against the errant police officials. Based on these facts, the Commission held that there was a prima facie violation of human rights relating to the life of the deceased.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the Commission directed the Government of Uttar Pradesh to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased as immediate interim relief and also to intimate the status of the cases registered against the concerned officials. The case is being monitored by the Commission.
 

Death of an Under-trial Prisoner, Tachi Kaki: Arunachal Pradesh (Case No.14/2/2002-2003-CD)

The Commission was informed of the custodial death by the State of Arunachal Pradesh stating that one under-trial prisoner, Tachi Kaki, was arrested in a case on 25 July 2002 for offences under sections 140/352/397 of the IPC. There were other cases also pending against him. On 28 July 2002 after he was interrogated at the Police Station, Basar, and was being taken to the lock-up at about 8 p.m. he tried to run away from the custody of the police. Seeing this, a sentry raised an alarm and he was chased among others, by Assistant Sub-Inspector A. Bharali who accidentally fired from his service revolver from a very close range. This caused the death of the accused on the spot.
The magisterial inquiry was held in the matter and it was found that the police official did fire at the deceased, which was not warranted.
On consideration of the report, the Commission noted that there was no occasion for the ASI, A. Bharali to fire at the accused Tachi Kaki after he was apprehended while escaping from the police station. The Commission, was therefore of the opinion that keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case there were reasons to believe that the human rights of the deceased were violated by the police personnel, and, therefore it issued a show cause notice to the State Government as to why an immediate interim relief under section 18(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 be not granted to next of the kin of the deceased. In response, the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh have communicated their decision to provide an immediate ex-gratia relief of Rs. 50,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased and that its payment would be intimated to the Commission. The case is being monitored by the Commission.

 

Year 2004-2005

Death of Bhaiya Lall in judicial Custody in Uttar Pradesh - Case No. 9161/24/98-99-CD

The Commission received an intimation dated 25/8/98 from the office of the DG (Prisons), UP, Lucknow about the death of undertrial prisoner Bhaiya Lal S/o Dhanraj Yadav while undergoing treatment at Swaroop Rani Hospital on 1/8/98.

In response to the notice issued to the Home Secretary, Government of UP, a magisterial inquiry report was received which indicated that the victim was subjected to custodial violence. There was evidence of custodial violence as well as negligence in providing treatment to Shri Bhaiya Lal which resulted in his death. The cause of death disclosed was heavy bleeding from the anus.

Upon consideration of the report, the Commission held that there was violation of human rights of Bhaiya Lal while in the custody of police and jail authorities. The Commission, accordingly, directed to issue notice to Chief Secretary, Government of UP to show cause as to why immediate interim relief u/s 18 (3) be not granted to the next of kin and also recommended action against errant officials.

As no response was received from the Government of UP to the show cause notice, the Commission recommended an interim compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. Compliance report called for in respect of payment of interim relief as well as the status of action taken against the errant public servant is still awaited.
 

Death of Kolumbus in judical custody in UP - Case No. 20143/24/2002-2003-CD

The Commission received an intimation dated 10/9/2002 from the Superintendent, District Jail Lucknow stating that one Kolumbus S/o Sudama aged 26 year, an undertrial prisoner, allegedly lodged in Session lock up at Lucknow was assaulted with knife and razor allegedly by three co-prisoners in lock up. Kolumbus received serious injuries and was referred to KGMC hospital, Lucknow on 8/9/2002 where he succumbed to his injuries during the course of treatment.

The Commission obtained a report from the Superintendent Jail Lucknow which indicated that Kolumbus was injured by his co-prisoner while he was in the session lock up and though no jail officer or staff was responsible for the incident, the injuries were received by Kolumbus due to negligence of the concerned police personnel of the Session’s lock up. The magisterial inquiry report also concluded that the UTP, Kolumbus died due to injuries sustained by him in an attack by his co-prisoners while he was in jail custody in session’s lock up.

The report further mentioned that a crime No. 365/2002 had been registered against the accused co-prisoner and charge sheet filed against them.

Upon consideration of the report, the Commission observed as under:-

The attack on the UTP Kolumbus by his co-prisoners was with sharp-edged weapons like knife and razor. The co-prisoners had these weapons available to them in the lock-up is a matter of serious concern and discloses lapse on the part of the authorities responsible for maintenance of the lock up. The incident must have taken some time as the deceased suffered multiple injuries as per post-mortem report and during all this period no attempt was made by the police officials in charge of the lock-up to save the deceased from being attacked. This also shows a very callous attitude, and is prima facie evidence of negligence of the concerned police personnel, besides dereliction of duty on their part. This prima facie, establishes the negligence on the part of the State machinery and dereliction of duty of the concerned police personnel.

In response to the show cause notice issued to the DGP, UP, he informed that the guilty police personnel had been placed under suspension and appropriate action is being taken against them in accordance with the law. No response was, however, received to the show cause notice from the Chief Secretary, UP. Inspite of reminders. The Commission, therefore, recommended to the State Government to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000/- to the next of kin of the deceased as interim relief u/s 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Compliance report from the State Government was still awaited.
 

Death of Smt. Basanti Devi in judicial custody in Bihar [Case No2435/4/2001-2002-CD]
 

The Commission received an intimation dated 27/10/2001 from the Superintendent District Prison, Purnia, Bihar about the death of Smt. Basanti Devi, an undertrial prisoner, during treatment in Sadar Hospital, Purnia on 26/10/2001.

In response to the notice issued to the Home Secretary, Government of Bihar, a magisterial inquiry report was received which indicated that Smt. Basanti Devi was arrested by officials of Excise Department on 26/9/2001 and was brutally thrashed. She was produced before the Magistrate after two days, treated in jail and died on 26/10/2001 during treatment in Sadar Hospital. The post-mortem report indicted the cause of death as septicemia which was due to injuries inflicted by the officials of the Excise Department.

Upon consideration of the report, the Commission held that there was violation of human rights of the deceased not only by the officials of Excise Department but also by the jail staff who were negligence in performance of their duties as no timely medical treatment was given to her. In response to the show cause notice issued u/s 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the State Government of Bihar has informed the Commission that sanction had been issued for providing ex-gratia relief of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. Subsequently, proof of payment to the next of kin (two minor children) of the deceased was also received. In view of the above report, the case was closed.
 

Death of Chander Prakash in Judicial Custody - 5237/24/2000-2001-CD
 

The Commission received an intimation from the Supdt. District Jail Bareilly about death of Chander Prakash aged 25 years in District Jail Bareilly. A news item was also published in the Daily Telegraph dated 30/5/2000 stating that prisoner was allegedly beaten to death in the district jail and a complaint was also received from Smt. Ram Piari mother of the deceased.

In response to the notice issued to the Home Secretary, Government of UP. A report received from the DGP, Prisons indicated that magisterial inquiry into the matte found that the deceased was admitted to the jail on 23/5/2000 and at that time he had no injury. He was brutally beaten by jail warder in the presence of jail authorities and shifted to District Hospital on 27/5/2005 where he succumbed to his injuries. The report further mentioned that departmental action had been initiated against the erring officials and a case u/s 302 IPC also registered against them.

Upon consideration of the report, the Commission concluded that the deceased was inflicted injuries by the jail staff which resulted in his death and therefore it was a clear case of violation of human rights. Accordingly, a notice was issued to the Chief Secretary, Government of UP to show cause as to why immediate interim relief u/s 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, be not granted to the next of kin of the deceased.

In response to the show cause notice , a report received from the DG, Prisons indicated that the investigation of the case was conducted by CB/CID and a charge sheet u/s 302 IPC was submitted against erring jail warders. The case was pending trial. The then Superintendent Jail and 10 other officials were proceeded against departmentally and had been punished. The Commission considered the above report and being convinced that the deceased was brutally beaten by the jail authorities which resulted in his death, the Commission observed that the award of interim relief u/s 18 (3) of the Act is not dependent on strict establishment of criminal liabilities after a full dress court trial. The benevolent provision can be invoked irrespective of the fact that any litigation, civil or criminal is pending in the court. The Commission, therefore, directed the State of UP to pay rupees one lakh as immediate interim relief to the legal heirs of the deceased and to submit compliance. The compliance report is still awaited.