On the basis of a press report that appeared in a newspaper dated 10 February 1994 and captioned "cops cut off man's penis", the Commission took cognizance of the incident suo motu and called for a report from the Government of Rajasthan. The State Government sent a preliminary report stating that one A.S.I. and one constable had been arrested in connection with the incident. Simultaneously, they along with one sub-Inspector and two other constables had been placed under suspension. It was further indicated that investigation of the matter had been taken over by CBI on 19 February 1994 and that, for better medical care, the victim had been sent to SMS Hospital, Jaipur where he was undergoing medical treatment in a plastic surgery ward.
On perusing the report, the Commission on 15 March 1994 directed CBI to complete the investigation within 3 months and submit its report to the Commission soon thereafter. The Commission also directed CBI to keep it informed of the progress of the matter from time to time.
The investigation has since been completed and a charge sheet has been submitted.
Shri M. Udaya Bhanu, Advocate, Madras had represented to the Commission that on 20 January 1994, an advocate, Shri Luies was mercilessly beaten by Sub-Inspector of Police, Shri Devanesan. According to Shri Udaya Bhanu, Shri Luies had intervened when the Sub-Inspector was physically assaulting some beggars. The Sub-Inspector got violent and started beating Shri Luies. Shri Luies was admitted to hospital. Next morning, Inspector Shri Ranganathan forcibly took away Shri Luies to an unknown place.
On 21 January 1994, members of the Bar passed a resolution condemning the act of the Sub-Inspector and filed a petition before the Court for search of Shri Luies and his production before the Court.
The Commission has called for a report from the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Chief Secretary has informed the Commission that a Magisterial Inquiry into the incident has been ordered and that the Sub Inspector, Shri Devanesan has been placed under suspension. The matter remains under the consideration of the Commission.
The Commission took cognizance of a news item which reported the death of one Hussain Teli, who was brought to the police station at Bonli in Rajasthan for interrogation in connection with the case of the murder of one Prahlad Yadav. It was alleged that Hussain Teli was tortured to death.
The Commission directed its Investigation Division to investigate the matter. Accordingly, an investigation was undertaken and a report was submitted indicating that this was, indeed, a case of death by torture as a result of police interrogation and that the body of Hussain Teli was buried in unusual circumstances by the police with a view to covering-up their misdeeds.
On an examination of the information before it, the Commission noted that Hussain Teli was called to the police station for interrogation and detained illegally. As Hussain Teli died the very next morning after he was released from police custody and as it was found that blood was oozing from his mouth and nose, there was a nexus between the death and conduct of the police during investigation. Even though no external injuries had been noticed in the inquest and the post-mortem report, the circumstances indicated that Hussain was illegally detained and tortured during the police investigation.
The Commission observed that while steps were being taken to prosecute the concerned officials, a case having already been registered against them, this was a fit case for award of compensation to the dependents. Having regard to the circumstances, the Commission directed payment of interim compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the dependents of the deceased Hussain Teli. The State Government has since complied with the recommendations of the Commission.
A detailed account of this case was given in the annual report of the Commission for the year 1996-97. It was mentioned that the Commission had approached the High Court of Madras for appropriate directions to the State Government, as the State had failed to comply with the recommendation of the Commission for the payment of compensation to the torture victim. It was further indicated that the case was pending before the High Court.
By a decision of 19 February 1998, the High Court ordered the State Government to pay Shri Ram Singh the amount of compensation recommended by the Commission, with 18% interest per annum from the date of the Commission’s recommendation till the date of payment. Condemning the attitude of the State Government in this case, the Court further ordered payment of an exemplary cost to the Commission as well, with the direction that the State Government was entitled to recover the amounts "from all the officials responsible for the episode".
There has been wide media coverage of the orders of the Court. For its part, Commission also brought the orders of the High Court to the notice of the other State Governments as an indication of the options available to it for enforcing its recommendations
The Commission took suo-motu cognizance of an instance of police brutality, published in the Hindustan Times on 3 September 1998, under the heading "Police brutality again in Kerala". The report stated that a college lecturer was beaten mercilessly by the police as he had dared to question the fare demanded by the driver of an autorickshaw he had taken while visiting Kozhikode. When the lecturer became unconscious, his legs and hands were tied and he was shifted to a mental hospital, and a case was made out that he was a violent mental patient. The mental hospital did not admit him because of his serious condition and he was taken to the Medical College. The reporters and photographers, who tried to obtain a first hand account of the torture inflicted upon the victim, were also assaulted by the police.
The Commission issued notices to the Chief Secretary and DGP, Government of Kerala. According to the report submitted by the Commissioner of Police, the deeds of the concerned police officials were confirmed. On the basis of this factual confirmation, the Government had suspended the culprits (2 sub-inspectors, 1 ASI, 1 Head Constable, 3 Police Constables) and an enquiry was ordered against them.
Convinced that appropriate steps were being taken against the culprits, the case was closed by the Commission. The Govt. was directed to report the result of the disciplinary action taken against the delinquent officials with utmost expedition.
A.J. Antony, a resident of Wynad District, Kerala made a complaint to the Commission alleging that one Hussain, a labourer, was brutally beaten by the police on 19 February 1999 during a raid on a gambling place. According to the complaint, Hussain had explained to the police that he had gone there to collect money from one Khalid Mohammad and not to gamble. However, the police ignored his pleas and had beaten him so brutally that his spinal cord broke and he was paralysed from below the neck. Since his family was not wealthy, he was brought home after the initial treatment. The complainant requested the Commission to recommend action against the guilty police officials and to award a compensation of Rs.6 lakhs to the victim.
The Commission immediately called for a report from the DGP Kerala. The report from the DGP stated that during a raid on a gambling den, one of the gamblers, Hussain, was beaten as a result of which he fell down. Shri Hussain made a statement that the police had beaten him and then gone away without providing him any medical treatment. On this basis, a case was registered at the Meppady Police Station. The report added that the victim had since been discharged from hospital and was undergoing treatment at his residence. A police constable had been placed under suspension and an oral inquiry had been ordered against him, as also the concerned Sub-Inspector.
Subsequently, the Confederation of Human Rights Organisations informed the Commission that Hussain had died on 26 November 1999 as a result of the brutal torture inflicted on him by the police. The Confederation also sought action against the policemen for murder and for compensation of at least Rs.3 lakhs to the family of the deceased.
The Commission took note of the report of the DGP Kerala and of the subsequent report of the Confederation of Human Right Organisations. It observed that the Office of the DGP did not dispute the fact that the victim was beaten by the police. The Commission, accordingly, directed the State Government to institute criminal action against the concerned police officials for the murder of Hussain and also to expedite the departmental proceedings against them. The Commission also recommended that a sum of Rs.2 lakhs be paid by the Government to the next of kin of Hussain as immediate interim compensation. The Commission stated that the Government was at liberty to deduct this amount from the salary of the guilty police officials. The Government of Kerala has sanctioned the payment of a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs to the next of kin of Hussain as compensation. The Government has also ordered the Director General of Police to institute criminal action against the guilty officials for murder.
The Commission received a telegraphic complaint from Smt. Ayeeponnu stating that her husband was picked up by the police from their home on 3 September 1995, tortured at the police station and was thereafter remanded to judicial custody. While in remand, he was hospitalised in a serious condition and died. The Commission called for a report from DGP Tamil Nadu, Chennai. The DGP stated that Mohan was arrested for selling arrack and had been produced before the Judicial Magistrate the same day and remanded to judicial custody. En-route to jail, he fell down following an epileptic fit and sustained a head injury. He was subsequently hospitalised and died. He also stated that the widow denied having sent a complaint to the Commission.
The matter was further investigated by the Commission through the State Legal Aid and Advice Board, Chennai and an opinion was also sought from the doctor who had performed the autopsy. While the doctor stated that the deceased appeared to have died of shock and haemorrhage due to a head injury, the Legal Aid and Advice Board also reported that the widow denied having sent a complaint. The Commission examined the facts and circumstances and concluded that the telegram itself was a very telling one and it was obvious that the widow, being an illiterate person, wished to avoid a confrontation with the police and therefore, denied having sent the telegram. The post-mortem report also indicated that the injuries could not have been caused by a mere fall to the ground due to an epileptic fit. The deceased also did not have a history of epilepsy.
Based on the facts and clinical evidence available, the Commission came to the conclusion that the death was, indeed, due to head injuries inflicted by the police. The Commission accordingly recommended that in order to compensate for the loss of the precious life of the young man, the Government of Tamil Nadu should pay immediate interim relief in the amount of Rs.2 lakhs to his wife Smt. Ayepponnu within two months of the order. The District Collector was also directed to arrange a house for the widow with Rs.50,000/- and give her a sum of Rs.10,000/- for furniture, and arrange to deposit of the balance amount in her name in a nationalised bank. The State Government was also directed to entrust the matter to the CBI for further investigation, to charge-sheet the persons responsible for the death and to take the case to its logical conclusion. The State Government was further asked to submit compliance reports periodically. The State Government has since sanctioned the amount of compensation recommended by the Commission.
The Commission had received a complaint from one Raj Kumar Vij of Varanasi alleging that his son, Rakesh Kumar Vij had been subjected to severe physical torture by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police. This had necessitated the hospitalisation of Rakesh in order to save his life. The complainant alleged that the police had illegally detained his son in connection with a murder investigation. It was mentioned in the petition that the victim was ill-treated and tortured and that electric shocks had been administered to him by making him urinate on a live electric coil - in order to elicit information about the murder. He was also not allowed to meet any family member. The torture had totally incapacitated the victim.
The Commission subsequently received a number of petitions from various non-governmental organisations and social activists regarding this case. Taking cognizance of the matter, the Commission issued notice to the Director General of Police, UP. The report received from the Senior Superintendent of Police, Varanasi stated that the victim had sustained injuries as a result of a fall while trying to run away from police custody. It also mentioned that Shri Rakesh Vij had a criminal record. The petitioner, when asked to respond, refuted the police version. The Commission then directed its own Investigation Division to inquire into the incident. The report of the Investigation Team affirmed illegal detention and severe torture of the victim. The inquiry by the State CBCID, initiated by the UP Government, substantiated the Investigation Team's report.
The Commission also asked the UP Government to constitute a Medical Board to assess the extent of physical disability suffered by the victim. The Medical Board, gave a report to the Commission, stating that the victim did not suffer from any gross structural damage, and that most of his complaints were subjective. The report also stated that the patient had made a good recovery and that all his medical test results were within normal limits. The complainant, however, in a communication to the Commission, expressed his doubts about the impartiality and trustworthiness of the medical report. He requested the Commission to assess the authenticity of the medical report.
In view of grave apprehensions of miscarriage of justice, the Commission got the victim examined by the Delhi Trauma and Rehabilitation Centre, which gave an entirely different assessment. Due to the discrepancies between the two medical reports, the Commission then directed that Shri Rakesh Vij be referred to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for reassessment of his health status. The Commission also directed the State Government to bear all the medical and travelling expenses of the victim.
According to the report from AIIMS, the victim's spinal cord was compressed leading to deterioration of power in his lower limbs and in his neurological functioning in lower limbs, sensory loss of bladder and bowel movement.
There were 60 to 80 per cent chances for improvement, but only if the victim undertook high-risk surgery. He was suffering from hearing loss and some of his teeth were missing. He was suffering from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with no proven treatment.
The Commission was thus convinced that police officials had perpetrated custodial violence, brutal or savage in nature, on Shri Rakesh Vij. The Commission was also of the opinion that because of this torture, the victim had suffered trauma and stress and had been rendered incapable of living normally for the rest of his life. This was a case of a gross violation of human rights of a citizen resulting from barbaric acts of torture perpetrated on him. The State was, therefore, liable to compensate Shri Rakesh Vij for the damages suffered by him.
The Commission thus directed the UP Government to pay Shri Rakesh Vij Rs.10 lakhs by way of immediate interim relief. It was also directed to arrange for the complete medical treatment of Shri Vij at AIIMS, New Delhi or PGI, Lucknow, as Shri Vij preferred. The expenses of the treatment as well as the travelling expenses of Shri Vij, along with one attendant, from his native place to the place of medical treatment, would also be borne by the State Government.
The Commission also directed the prosecution of the police officers found responsible for perpetrating various acts of torture on Shri Vij. As recommended by the State CBCID, disciplinary action is to be taken against five police personnel, including the Senior Superintendent of Police and a Superintendent of Police, Varanasi. The Commission has also issued notice to the concerned doctors from Varanasi asking them as to why recommendations should not be made to the State Government of UP to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against them for giving an incorrect report/findings about the status of health and extent of physical disability and incapability suffered by Shri Rakesh Vij.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh reported to the Commission its acceptance of the Commission's recommendations with regard to the prosecution of errant police officials as also in respect of payment of compensation to the victim.
Under Section 13(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the Commission shall, while inquiring into complaints under this Act, have all the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Section 13(2) further provides that the Commission shall have power to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the inquiry and any person so required shall be deemed to be legally bound to furnish such information within the meaning of Section 176 and Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 15 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 protects those who give evidence before the Commission. It also provides for prosecution of those who give false evidence. Medical personnel have a crucial role in unearthing vital evidence in cases of allegations of torture and custodial violence. They have a duty to ensure that an accurate description of the victim’s injuries is provided to the Commission. In this case, the Medical Board constituted by the Government of Uttar Pradesh gave a misleading report to the Commission on the extent of injuries suffered by Shri Rakesh Kumar Vij. The Commission, however, got a further assessment made by the Delhi Trauma and Rehabilitation Centre and then by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The Commission, using the powers conferred on it by its Statute, recommended the initiation of appropriate action against those who tried to mislead the Commission. Article 10(1) the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stipulates that each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the Prohibition against Torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment. Article 10(2) further requires each State Party to include this prohibition in the rules or instructions issued in regard to the duties and functions of any such persons. In other words, medical personnel not only have a role in the prevention of Torture but are duty bound to do so.
The Commission received a complaint from Smt. Phoolwanta Kuwar, a resident of Kamur, Bihar stating that on 16 September 1999, her husband Late Shri Bindeshwar Chaudhary had been brutally beaten by Brij Bihari and others in a false case relating to the theft of a buffalo. In that connection, a case had been registered in the PS Mohania but the police allegedly did not take any action against the accused persons and her injured husband had been kept in the custody of a Medical Officer, Vinay Bahadur Sinha, after being handcuffed. He had allegedly not been provided proper treatment until he contracted tetanus, at which point, he was referred to a hospital in Varanasi. The complainant stated that her husband died there owing to negligence of the doctor and the police. It was further stated that she became a widow at the age of twenty and that her husband had left behind a six-month-old child. The complainant sought a high level inquiry into the matter and justice for herself and her innocent child.
Upon perusal of the complaint, the Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary and the DGP Government of Bihar to conduct an enquiry and send a report in the matter. The report obtained from the Chief Secretary and the DGP Bihar revealed that an investigation was conducted by Dy. SP Mohania in this case and it was found that on 16 September 1999 at 9.30 PM Sonu Chaudhary brought Bindeshwar Chaudhary in an injured condition to the police station and filed a complaint alleging that the injured Bindeshwar Chaudhary and a few others had been caught red-handed by the locals while stealing a buffalo. The public who gathered on the occasion beat Bindeshwar brutally, thereby injuring him. Following the complaint, a case was registered under Section 379/411 IPC and the injured person was referred to Mohania Hospital for treatment. Owing to excessive injuries on the person of Bindeshwar Chaudhary, he was not produced before a court. On 23 September 1999, his condition had deteriorated and, as a result, he was referred to the hospital in Varanasi, where he succumbed to his injuries. On 27 September 1999, the relatives of the victim had taken away the dead body and filed a complaint which was registered as Case No.263/99 under Section 304(A) IPC against five accused persons. It was also reported that the name of the deceased was in the crime diary Part II in PS Mohania and he was also a suspect in Case No.179/96 under Section 379 IPC. The post-mortem report attributed the cause of death to respiratory failure and to the injuries caused on the body of the deceased.
Upon perusal of the report, the Commission noted serious short-comings in it. No information was forwarded to the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Case No.263/99 for not producing the accused (deceased) within 24 hours of his arrest; when the accused (deceased) was brought to the police station in an injured condition, the police failed to register a complaint against those who had caused injuries; the death of the victim was caused while in police custody and, therefore, a video-graphy of the post-mortem report should have been conducted. An inquest report should also have been prepared by the Judicial Magistrate. While the SHO of PS Mohania was arrested with immediate effect and departmental proceedings were initiated against him, the Commission observed that the police had failed in the performance of their legitimate duties by not registering a case against the wrong doers who had caused serious injuries to the husband of the complainant. The police was also negligent in not referring the seriously injured husband of the petitioner in time to the hospital and in providing proper treatment; this had resulted in his death. The Commission further noted that the report was silent about the allegation of handcuffing of the injured husband. It was also admitted that no information was forwarded to the Chief Judicial Magistrate for not producing the injured husband of the complainant before the said court, which confirmed that there had been deliberate inaction on the part of the police. The Commission observed that the evidence on record proved the allegation of the complainant of ill-treatment of her husband by the police.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and keeping in view that the complainant was widowed at the age of 20 years and left alone with the responsibility of raising a 6 month-old child, the Commission recommended the payment of interim compensation in the amount of Rs. 3,00,000/- to the wife of the deceased. The Commission further directed that a sum of Rs.20,000/- may be paid by a demand draft to the complainant and the balance deposited in a Nationalised Bank and interest be paid to her every month. The Commission also asked the Government of Bihar to expedite disciplinary action against the errant police officer. The Commission was informed that necessary sanction was issued for payment of compensation.
The Commission received a petition from Shri Shesharao Rayasing Rathod, a resident of Mahuli, Maharashtra, stating that during the course of the Zila Parishad election campaign on 12 December 1998, the petitioner and his friends, Harishchandra and Umesh Sawant, were stopped by a police Sub Inspector and five constables when they were returning from Sawali village. Though they were not within the jurisdiction of these police officials, they were allegedly beaten by them. As a result, the left leg of the petitioner was fractured. It was further alleged that it was done at the instance of one Madharao Nimbalkar of Village Sawali, whose wife was a contestant in the Panchayat Samiti election. In addition, it was alleged that the Sub Inspector had registered a false complaint against the petitioner.
Upon taking cognizance of the complaint, the Commission issued a notice to the Director General of Police, Maharashtra. The report received from his office confirmed the fact that the Sub Inspector of Police Station, Digras had misused his official position and that the incident had occurred outside his area of jurisdiction. An enquiry into the matter indicated that the Sub Inspector had acted at the behest of Madarao Nimbalkar of Sawali Village and that, as a result of merciless beating inflicted on the petitioner, his left leg was indeed fractured. The report also confirmed that a false case had been registered against the petitioner. The report concluded by stating that departmental action was being taken against the Sub Inspector and that it had been recommended that his increments be withheld for two years.
The Commission expressed deep regret over the fact that the police, whose duty it was to protect human rights, was itself involved in the violation of such rights. Having regard to the grievous injuries suffered by the petitioner at the hands of the Sub Inspector, the Commission recommended the payment of immediate interim compensation of Rs. 30,000 to him; it also recommended that this amount may be recovered from the concerned police official if the Government so wished. Further, the Commission asked to be informed of the payment of compensation, as well as the status of the case registered against the Sub Inspector.
The Commission, by its order dated 22 August 2000 had recommended the payment of immediate innterim compensation of Rs.30,000 to the petitioner, it also recommended that this amount be recovered from the concerned police official if the Government so wished and a criminal case registered against the guilty Sub-Inspector.
Purusant to the Commission's directions the State Government of Maharashtra has indicated that the payment of Rs.30,000/- was made to the petitioner on 19th April 2001. As regards the registeration of a criminal case u/s 325 IPC against the police sub-inspector, Shri B.S.Mahajan, the investigation had been completed and the matter was under consideration of the Director General of Police, Mahrashtra for further necessary action.
One Dayashankar Vidyalankar, a resident of Haridwar, Uttranchal submitted a complaint alleging that while he was propagating the teachings of Swami Dayanand at Haridwar Railway Station on 29 February 2001, he was beaten and manhandled by a Constable and, as a result, his left ear was badly injured and a bone behind his right ear was broken. The reports received from the Superintendent of Police Railways, Moradabad and the Director General, Railway Protection Force, Railway Board, in response to a notice issued by the Commission, indicated that the allegations of the complainantagainst the Constable were found to be correct. The Constable was punished by a reduction in his present pay-scale by 3 stages for 3 years, and a case u/s 323/326 IPC and section 145 of Railways Act, 1989 was also registered against him. The Commission, after considering the aforesaid reports and giving a personal hearing to the complainant, as well as after obtaining an opinion from a Medical Board of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi regarding the nature of the injuries suffered by the complainant, recommended a payment of Rs.10,000 to the petitioner by the Ministry of Railways. This has been paid.
In view of the compliance report received from the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India, the Commission closed the case on 1 April 2002.
The National Commission for Minorities, on 25 July 2001, referred a
complaint by Shri Zahir Ahmed Khan alleging the illegal detention of his
brother, Zamir Ahmed Khan, by the Sub-Inspector and two constables of
Bugrasi Chowki, Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh during the night of 29 March
2001. It was further alleged that he was brutally beaten by the police while
in custody and that he had been released in the afternoon of 30 March 2001.
Though he was examined in the Government hospital for the injuries, he was
allegedly threatened by the police not to complain against them. A prayer
was, therefore, made for action against the guilty police personnel.
The Commission received a complaint dated 8 November 2001 from Shri
Sudhir T.Dhurwey, an advocate, alleging that Shri Jagdish Kawale, a resident
of Pauni, District Bhandara, Maharahstra was mercilessly beaten by a police
official of Pauni Police Station on 2 March 2001. The victim suffered
grievous injuries resulting in a fracture to one leg and he also had to
spend a considerable amount of money for his treatment in the Bhandara
The Commission received a complaint dated 10 October 2001 from Shri Prem
Chand, a teacher in the Government School at Kota, alleging that on 29
September 2001 he was picked-up by the local Sub Inspector, illegally
detained, falsely implicated in a case, tortured and denied food and water
during the period of his detention.
The complaint relates to harassment and humiliation meted out to one
Jagannath Shaw of Raniganj, Burdwan, West Bengal by two members of the
Railway Protection Force on 6 April 2002.
The Commission took cognizance of a complaint dated 14 October 2001 from
Sarita Sahu, a resident of Tharapkhana, Ranchi, alleging that on 28
September 2001 at 10.30 p.m., a police party ransacked her house, picked her
up, her brothers as well as her parents and took all of them to the office
of the Superintendent of Police, Ranchi on charges of acting in a blue film
entitled “Chhamia”. The police got a report printed in a local daily
‘Prabhat Khabar’ on 29 September 2001 that three girls were arrested in
connection with the production of the blue film. Besides she was abused and
assaulted by the police and was also forced to pose for photographs.
The Commission received a complaint from Shri Suhas Chakma, Director,
Asian Centre for Human Rights, New Delhi alleging that a Reang girl was
tortured and gang raped by a group of three Special Police Officers of the
State Government of Tripura on 26/5/2003. The victim girl’s family
complained to the police station naming the three guilty SPOs but their
complaint was not recorded.
The Commission received a complaint dated 22/10/1998 from Mrs. Deepa
Rajput alleging that, while her husband, Vinod Kumar Rajput was returning
from the bank to his shop on 30.7.98 alongwith a cash of Rs.2.5 lacs, some
miscreants attacked him with a sword and snatched the entire money from him.
Despite lodging a report with the Police, no action was taken to apprehend
the culprits. On the other hand, her husband was repeatedly called by the
Police to the Police station and was tortured by them. As a result, he
committed suicide on 6.9.98. She prayed for an appointment on compassionate
grounds and compensation.
Investigations into allegations of police excessesagainst villagers of Mannikere, near Belgaum, Karnataka, by a team from the Commission, have resulted in restoring a sense of confidence among the affected villagers.
The Commission’s attention was drawn to this matter by a letter from Shri H.K. Patil, leader of the Opposition, Karnataka Legislative Council. In that letter it was stated that, because of police action on 31 October 1995 and later on 1 November 1995, the villagers of Mannikere had fled their homes. The primary school in the village was closed and milk vendors had not been allowed to enter the village. There was an atmosphere of fear and panic all over the area, the letter added.
Following this complaint, the Commission instructed its Director General (Investigation) and Superintendent of Police to visit the affected area to investigate the matter. They visited Mannikere and the adjoining villages and listened to the grievances of the villagers. They also scrutinized all connected papers.
The investigation team noted evidence of over-reaction by the police. A large number of villagers, including women, had been detained in police custody for more than 48 hours. Because of police high-handedness, many of the villagers had left their hearths and homes in fear and panic. The team found that a land dispute, which was compounded by political rivalry, was at the core of the problem. This coupled with police high-handedness led to a siege of Mannikere village. No immediate and tangible efforts were made by the administration to restore normalcy, the team noted.
The Director General (Investigation) later met the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the State and conveyed to them the views of the Commission. He also met the Director General of Police, Karnataka and other senior police officers and urged them to take immediate steps to restore normalcy in the affected area and instil confidence in the minds of the villagers.
The State administration has assured the Commission that the cases started against the villagers will be reviewd, and that measures will be taken to create a sense of confidence. The Commission has expressed its appreciation of this and is keeping a close watch over developments.
A complaint was received from Shri Baba Khan of Kota alleging illegal detention and torture by the police. It was alleged that he and his two brothers-in-law were forcibly taken away by the police, illegally detained and tortured. The Commission took cognizance of the complaint, directed the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Rajasthan to submit a report. The report submitted by the State police said that the allegations made by Baba Khan were false and baseless. On not being satisfied, the Commission directed its Investigation Division to investigate the matter. The findings of the Investigation Division indicated that the allegations of illegal detention and torture were, prima facie, established. The Commission, accordingly, recommended payment of compensation to the victims: Rs.15,000/- to Shri Baba Khan, Rs.20,000/- to Shri Mirza Khan and Rs. 5,000/- to Shri Yousuf Irani. The Commission further recommended that the State Government may consider the report of the investigation team of the Commission with a view to taking action against the errant police officials. The Government of Rajasthan has since complied with the recommendations of the Commission and has intimated that payment of compensation has been made to the victims. It has also reported that a criminal case has been registered against the concerned SHO and disciplinary action initiated against him and two other officers.
The Commission took cognizance of a telegraphic complaint received from Shri Inderjit Yadav alleging that his brother Shri Rambir Yadav was forcibly taken away by the police on 23 April 1996 from their milk dairy located at Lal Kuan, District Ghaziabad and illegally detained until 27 April 1996, purportedly for questioning him in regard to the murder of a certain Rajpal.
In pursuance of the Commission’s directions, the Investigation Division called for a report from SSP Ghaziabad. The report stated that Rambir Yadav was called to the Police Station on 27 April 1996, in connection with a case and allowed to go the same day. When the police version was communicated to the complainant, he contradicted it and reiterated the allegation, saying that his brother was picked upon 23 April and released on 27 April 1996 after obtaining his signature on a blank paper. Under these circumstances, the Commission directed its Investigation Division to undertake a spot inquiry. On the basis of the report of its Investigation Division the Commission was convinced that this was a case of illegal detention and was a compensatable case. As such, the Commission recommended payment of compensation of Rs.10,000/- to the victim and also directed Inspector General of Police, Meerut to inquire into the matter for fixing the responsibility of officers for the illegal detention. IGP, Meerut inquired into the matter and departmental action has been taken against the two guilty police officials; liberty was sought from the Commission to recover the amount of the compensation from the guilty police officials
Smt. T. Nagarathnam filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that the police abducted her husband T. Rama Rao from his house on the night of 12/13 November 1995 and that his whereabouts were not known. The Commission immediately called for a report from the State Police. The report received was however not found to be satisfactory and therefore, the Commission directed its own Investigation Team to look into the matter and submit a report.
The NHRC Team upon investigation found that Shri Rama Rao was picked up in the presence of his wife on the night of 12/13 November due to his suspected involvement in an attempt to murder one Tejeshwar Rao, a local CPI leader, on 4 October 1995. He was initially taken to the town police station Srikakulam, from where he was moved to Luvaru Police Station and was tortured to extract a confession. However, when nothing could be established against him, he was produced before an Executive Magistrate on 14 November 1995 and released after he executed a personal bond of Rs.5,000/- Due to the torture that he underwent, Rama Rao’s first desire was to be free and he did not, therefore, lodge any complaint immediately. On 13 November, however, the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) had submitted a memorandum to the Commission alleging that Rama Rao had been abducted and that his rights had been violated. The police records, on the other hand, stated that he was arrested on 14 November and released on the same day after execution of a personal bond. From the investigation by the NHRC Team, it became clear that the police had manipulated the documents and records to cover their misdeeds. Since the police arrest of Rama Rao was both illegal and malafide, the Commission expressed deep distress at the manner in which the police violated the constitutional rights of Rama Rao, an innocent law abiding person, who was illegally confined and tortured. The Commission recommended that the Government of Andhra Pradesh pay Rs.25,000/- as immediate interim compensation to Rama Rao, that they initiate departmental proceedings against the police officials and take such other appropriate action against them as may be necessary. The Commission has received a compliance report from the Government of Andhra Pradesh with regard to the payment of compensation.
Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights emphasise that no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. In the above case, there is a violation of the fundamental right guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution which stipulates that no one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
Arrest involves restriction of liberty of a person arrested and therefore, infringes the basic human rights of liberty. Nevertheless the Constitution of India as well as International human rights law recognize the power of the State to arrest any person as a part of its primary role of maintaining law and order. The Constitution requires a just, fair and reasonable procedure established by law under which alone such deprivation of liberty is permissible.
Although Article 22(1) of the Constitution provides that every person placed under arrest shall be informed as soon as may be the ground of arrest and shall not be denied the right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his choice and S.50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr. PC) requires a police officer arresting any person to "forthwith communicate to him full particulars of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest". In actual practice these requirements are observed more in the breach.
Likewise, the requirement of production of the arrested person before the court promptly which is mandated both under the Constitution [Article 22(2)] and the Cr. PC (Section 57) is also not adhered to strictly.
A large number of complaints pertaining to Human Rights violations are in the area of abuse of police powers, particularly those of arrest and detention. The Commission has, therefore, found it necessary, with a view to narrowing the gap between law and practice, to prescribe guidelines regarding arrest even while at the same time not unduly curtailing the power of the police to effectively maintain and enforce law and order and proper investigation. The Commission’s Guidelines regarding Arrest were sent to Chief Secretaries of all States/Union Territories on 22 November, 1999 with a request to translate these Guidelines into their respective regional languages and make them available to all police officers and in all police stations for compliance.
The complainant, Prabhuraj S. Kappikeri, alleged that his brother Anil Kumar, resident of Latur, Maharastra, had come to Udaigiri on 12 January 1997 to meet him and other relatives. He was picked up by the police, beaten and illegally detained. A complaint was made to the Superintendent of Police, but no action was taken.
The Commission issued notice to the Government of Maharashtra and received a report. On consideration of the report, the Commission held that there was truth in the contention of the complainant. The governmental enquiry had also held the public servants to be guilty of misconduct. As the human rights of the victim had been violated, the Commission issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, to show-cause as to why a sum of Rs.10,000 be not paid as immediate interim relief to Anil Kumar for causing him physical injury and confining him to unlawful custody.
In reply, the Maharashtra Government contended that the erring police officials had been punished and that a fine of Rs.500 had been imposed on each of them. It was therefore urged that the Commission should not grant Rs.10,000 as interim compensation to Shri Anil Kumar. The Commission considered the reply on 28 December 2001 and held that the immediate interim relief u/s 18(3) of the Act was in the nature of compensation to the victim for the violation of his human rights, while the fines imposed as punishment in a disciplinary proceeding on the delinquent public servant served a different purpose. There was therefore no ground to deny the immediate interim relief to the victim. Accordingly, the Commission confirmed that payment be made of immediate relief in the amount of Rs.10,000 to the victim, Anil Kumar. The compensation has since been paid by the State Government.
D.M. Rege, an officer of Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank Limited, Versova Branch, Mumbai complained to the Commission that he was illegally detained and tortured by the police in connection with an incident involving the misplacement of cash in the Bank and requested for an inquiry into the matter.
Upon directions of the Commission, a report was received from the DCP, Zone- VII, Mumbai. It indicated that the complainant was indeed innocent, and that his detention and torture were unjustified. The report also mentioned that the guilty Constable had been awarded a minor punishment by way of forfeiture of his increment for one year, while the delinquent Sub-Inspector had been transferred out. After consideration of the report, the Commission directed the Police Commissioner, Mumbai to have the matter re-examined in order to ensure that the erring police personnel were suitably punished in a manner that would be commensurate with the wrong that had been done. The Commission also issued a show-cause notice as to why Rs.30,000 be not awarded as immediate interim relief to the victim.
The State Government, through its letter of 4 January 2001, requested the Commission to reconsider the issue of payment of compensation on the ground that two of the policemen had been immediately transferred, and that the Constable had been awarded punishment of stoppage of his increment for one year for his misconduct. The Commission, in its order dated 10 April 2001, rejected the plea of the State Government, and held that, since the guilt of the public servants had been established, there were no grounds to justify a re-consideration of this matter and directed that compensation of Rs.30,000 be paid by the State Government to the complainant for violation of his human rights.
The State Government has complied with the Commission's directions, the case has been closed.
Acting on a complaint from one Mohammed Azad, resident of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, the Commission observed in its Proceedings of 1 November 1999 that the son of the complainant had been illegally detained by the police from 16 - 27 November 1998 and directed the payment of Rs.25,000 immediate interim relief to the complainant; it also recommended that this amount be recovered from the salary of the Sub-Inspector of Police Brij Pal and three other police personnel responsible for the illegal detention. The SSP Ghaziabad sought reconsideration of this decision on the grounds —
(i)that both the petitioner and his son had filed an affidavit denying that the son of the petitioner had been illegally detained; and
(ii) that the petitioner had also denied that any complaint had been submitted to the Commission at any time.
The Commission, while rejecting the stand taken by the police authorities, observed in an order dated 10 December 2001 that a denial made by the petitioner or his son at this stage could not have any weight because the police report had itself earlier admitted that the son of the petitioner had been illegally detained and kept in lawful custody. Moreover, this crime was committed against society, and not merely against an individual. The Commission observed that the stand taken by the petitioner and his son was an after-thought and could not be accepted.
The Commission therefore directed that compliance be made of its earlier recommendations and also issued notice to the petitioner and his son to show-cause asking as to why action be not taken against them for resiling from their earlier statement by the later filing of an affidavit.
A compliance report was received from Sr. Supdt. of Police, Ghaziabad stating that the compensation of Rs.25,000/- had been paid to the victim. The case was accordingly closed on 21 June 2002.
The Commission received a complaint dated 14 January 2000 from Shri
Ikramuddin, a resident of District Bagpat, Uttar Pradesh alleging that a
case was registered at the Police Station Baraut against Ikramu, a resident
of Baraut. During trial, the accused did not appear in the court and non-bailable
warrant was issued against him. The police instead of arresting ikramu,
arrested Ikramuddin on 20 June 1999, despite his protest. He was released on
bail by the court, after filing an affidavit that he was not the accused in
the case. A prayer was, therefore, made for stern action against the errant
police officials and for compensation.
A telegraphic complaint was received from M.Meena stating that a case
Cr.No.334/01 under section 147/342/363/506 of the IPC was registered against
her brother-in-law, Varadarajan and that the police was searching from him.
On the night of 27 May 2001, the police, however, picked up her husband,
Manoharan, and took him to the police station, where he was unlawfully
detained and brutally tortured.
Commission received a complaint from Ganga Prasad a resident of District
Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh alleging illegal detention and torture of his
son Prahlad Swaroop and one Satish, son of Chiranjilal by Police personnel
belonging to police Station, Shikarpur at the instyance of Zamindars in the
The Christian Cultural Forum, Kollam, Kerala, submitted a complaint
alleging that police officials of Agali in Attappaddi in Palakkad district
in Kerala arrested three Adivasis, Manikandan, Parameswaran and Kuppamma on
25.5.1997 and kept them in illegal custody for 23 days. During detention,
one of the detenu Kuppamma, an Adivasi woman was beaten black and blue by
the police and even chilli powder was stuffed into her vagina. According to
the complainant, the Circle Inspector had falsely implicated around 100
adivasis in a fabricated case and as a result adivasis had left their
The Commission received a complaint from Shri Ramveer Singh, resident of
District Etah, Madhya Pradesh alleging that he and one Surendera Singh S/o
Bhai Lal were picked up on 5.1.2001 for interrogation in a murder case,
illegally detained at the PS, Mayapuri where they were beaten and
subsequently released on 8.1.2001.
The National Commission for Minorities on 25.7.2001 referred a complaint,
regarding illegal detention and torture of Shri Zamir Ahmed by the police of
PS Syana, Distt - Bulandshahar, UP.
Shri Rajiv Rattan, a clerk-cum-cashier at the Sahauran Branch of Shivalik Kshetriya Gramin Bank, Hoshiarpur, Punjab made a complaint to the Commission that he was falsely implicated, illegally detained for 13 days and was tortured by the police in a theft case that had taken place in the Bank. The Commission, being unsatisfied with the report of the State Government that the police had neither illegally detained him for 13 days nor had tortured him, directed its Director General (Investigation) to take up a field investigation and submit a report. The NHRC Investigation Team, after considering the statements of independent witnesses, bank correspondence, medical papers and opinion given by the doctors at PGI Chandigarh concluded that the police had tortured the complainant on account of which he sustained the fracture of the neck of the femur bone of his leg.
The Commission expressed its distress at the brutality perpetrated at the police station and the lawless behaviour of those who are duty-bound to maintain law and order and uphold the rule of law, and also took a serious view of the attempt of the Punjab police to cover up its wrongful actions. The Commission held that the police perpetrated brutalities on the complainant causing a fracture of the neck of the femur bone for which he will have to undergo periodic operations after every eight to ten years. While holding that the police of the Ropar Police Station has disabled Shri Rajiv Rattan permanently by its brutal action, the Commission awarded him an immediate interim compensation of Rs.2.5 lakhs and also ordered an in-depth inquiry and initiation of criminal proceedings against the delinquent police officials for falsely implicating and illegally detaining him for 13 days causing him grave physical injuries. The Commission has received a compliance report with regard to the payment of compensation.
The Commission received a petition from one Dara Singh alleging that during the night of 26 March 2000 he, alongwith Manmohan Singh, Bhim Singh, Anil Sharma and others, was detained in the Anand Parbat Police Station, Delhi at the instance of one Smt. Veero Devi. All of them were brutally beaten by Inspector A.S. Tyagi, Station House Officer. They were later implicated in a false case under section 506, 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
Upon considering the petition, the Commission asked its Director General (Investigation) to enquire into the matter and submit a report. An enquiry was accordingly conducted by an Investigation Team of the Commission, which examined the complainant and his associates, Smt. Veero Devi, Sub Inspector Hari Prasad, Inspector A.S. Tyagi, Constable Sardar Singh and Shri Mohammed Ali, Assistant Commissioner of Police. Documentary evidence perused by the Investigation Team included the medico legal report (MLR) of the injured and the Daily Diary Report etc., maintained at the police station.
Upon considering the detailed report submitted by the Investigation Team, the Commission reached the conclusion that Inspector Tyagi had manipulated the DDR to show his absence from the police station at the time of the illegal detention and torture. Further, it appeared that Inspector Tyagi had taken offence at the conduct of Constable Sansar Singh who had appeared before the Investigation Team of the Commission and disclosed the truth of what had occurred at the police station. The Commission held that Dara Singh and others were illegally detained in the police station during the night of 26 March 2000 and that the Inspector was wholly responsible for this and the torture inflicted on them.
The Commission, therefore, recommended:
· The payment of compensation of Rs. 10,000 each to Dara Singh, Manmohan Singh, Bhim Singh, Anil Sharma and R.K. Mishra for the torture inflicted on them in custody;
· Departmental enquiry be initiated against Inspector A.S. Tyagi to ascertain his liability and that action be taken based on the findings in that enquiry; and
· Constable Sansar Singh may be transferred from the Anand Parbat Police Station to any other police station in view of the apprehension expressed by him, which appeared to be reasonable.
Before the close of the reporting period, the Commission had been informed that compensation had been paid to the victims; that the departmental enquiry was in progress and that Constable Sansar Singh had been transferred from the police station.
In this case, the Commission by its order of 17 August 2000 recommended: (i) the payment of compensation of Rs.10,000/- each to Dara Singh, Manmohan Singh, Bhim Singh, Anil Sharma and R.K.Mishra for the torture inflicted on them while in custody;(ii) initiation of departmental enquiry against Inspector A.S.Tyagi; and (iii) transfer of constable Sansar Singh from Anand Parbat Police station, Delhi to another police station.
Purusant to the Commission's direction, the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, by a letter dated 15 March 2002 informed the Commission that payment of compensation of Rs.10,000/- each had been made to Dara Singh, Manmohan Singh, Bhim Singh, Anil Sharma and R.K.Sharma on 31 March 2000. A departmental enquiry against Inspector A.S.Tyagi, the then SHO Anand Parbat and SI Har Prasad, the IO of the case, had been initiated. The departmental enquiry was in progress. Constable Sansar Singh had been transferred from PS Anand Parbat by an order dated 4 January 2001.
One Madhukar Jetley, an advocate resident in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh submitted a complaint dated 27 April 2000 alleging false implication and illegal detention in case No.514/1999 u/s 387 IPC. In response to a notice from the Commission, the Government of Uttar Pradesh submitted a copy of the Crime BranchCriminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) inquiry report, which confirmed that the complainant had been falsely implicated and that a report had been filed against the complainant, Smt. Rohini Chandra, u/s 182/211 IPC for filing a false case. Both the Investigating Officers, Shri Narsingh Narain Sharma and the Sub-Inspector Police Station Hazratganj, had been found guilty of falsely implicating the victim and of extorting Rs.1,000 from him. Adverse remarks had, therefore, been made in the confidential reports of the erring police personnel. The Commission, in its proceedings dated 3 November 2000, accordingly awarded compensation in the amount of Rs.50,000 to the victim in respect of his illegal detention and false implication by the police. The DGP, Uttar Pradesh was also directed to inform the Commission of the action taken against the erring police personnel and for the recovery of the compensation amount from them.
Smt. Rohini Chandra, in the meantime, submitted a counter petition alleging that the CB CID had undertaken a wrongful investigation in order to protect the complainant, Shri Madhukar Jetley. The Commission, therefore, directed its Director General (Investigation) to have this matter investigated further by a team of the Commission. The report of that team, as well as further investigations by the Government of Uttar Pradesh came to the conclusion that the allegations made by Smt. Rohini Chandra were false. The Commission therefore reiterated its earlier order of 3 November 2000 directing the Government of Uttar Pradesh to pay Rs.30,000 to Shri Madhukar Jetley. The compliance report was awaited by the Commission.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh had indicated that it has paid the compensation to the victim as directed by the Commission. A report on action taken against the errant police personnel is awaited.
One Saubhagyawati of Ballabhgarh, Faridabad alleged inaction by the police in regard to her complaint regarding harassment of her daughter, Savita, by her husband and in-laws. She also alleged false implication by the police of Rajinder Singh, husband of Saubhagyawati’s second daughter, at the instance of Savita’s in-laws. She said that Rajinder had tried to intervene and get the matter settled, upon which Savita’s in-laws had lodged a false complaint against him. The report received from the SP, Faridabad admitted that the Police Station House Officer (SHO), Puran Chand, did not investigate the case lodged by the petitioner properly. The case filed against Rajinder Singh was also found to be false and departmental action had been taken against the SHO. The Commission, after considering the report, held that a false case had been registered against Rajinder Singh, and the petitioner and her family had to undergo mental torture. It therefore issued a show cause notice to the SP, Faridabad as to why an amount of Rs.10,000 be not paid to the petitioner and Rajinder Singh. In reply, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) pleaded that the case against Rajinder Singh was cancelled after it was found to be false and that no grounds therefore remained for the award of compensation. Meeting on 18 September 2001, the Commission however held that the very fact that the erring officials had committed lapses and had been dealt with departmentally, was sufficient, prima facie, to establish that there were valid reasons for the grant of immediate interim relief. The Commission accordingly directed payment of compensation in the amount of Rs.10,000 to the petitioners. The amount was paid soon thereafter.
The NHRC received a complaint from one Anuradha Tak and her husband Manoj Kumar Tak, both residents of Ramnagar, Sodala, Jaipur, Rajasthan alleging that Manoj Kumar Tak and his brother, Narender Tak, were falsely implicated by SI, C.B.S. Raghuvanshi in case No.70/1998 u/s 392 IPC at the behest of one Sushil Sharma (Advocate), father of Anuradha, who did not approve the marriage of his daughter with Manoj Kumar Tak. The Commission, in its proceedings of 9 May 2001, prima facie found that a gross violation had occurred of the human rights of Manoj Kumar Tak and his brother, Narendera Kumar Tak, as was evident from the findings of the CID inquiry which were not disputed by the State Government. The State Government had further indicated that it had registered a criminal case against the then police station Incharge, SI, C.B.S. Raghuvanshi, Sushil Kumar Sharma, Advocate and some others, and that SI Raghuvanshi had since been removed from service. Based on these findings, the Commission issued a notice to the State of Madhya Pradesh to show-cause as to why immediate interim relief u/s 18(3) of the Act be not awarded to the victims. In response to the show-cause notice, the State Government raised two objections, namely, (i) that only SI C.B.S. Raghuvanshi, the then police station Incharge and Sushil Kumar Sharma, Advocate were held responsible in the CID enquiry for the violation of human rights. Hence only they should be made responsible for paymet of the amount and not the State Government; (ii) that C.B.S. Shri Raghuvanshi had challenged the action of the State Government before the High Court and, therefore, during the pendency of the matter before the High Court, the State Government should not be required to make any payment. The Commission, in its proceedings dated 9 May 2001, while referring to its earlier decisions in Case Nos.91/10/98-99 and 181/95-96/NHRC, reiterated the underlying principle and the object of enacting Section 18(3) in the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993. The Commission observed ‘(i) the object of Section 18(3) of the Act is to provide immediate interim relief in a case where a strong prima facie case of violation of human rights has been made out, so that the complainant is provided immediate relief which need not await determination in another proceeding of the full compensation awardable or identification of the particular public servant guilty of the violation and determination of his liability in another proceeding. The effect of award of "immediate interim relief" under Section 18(3) of the Act is that the amount so awarded is to be adjusted in the total compensation determined as payable in a proceeding like a Civil Suit so that the same amount is not paid over twice, and no more; (ii) 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 this 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 a perverse palpably untenable legal view 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; (iii) the meaning to be given to Section 18(3) by any State professing to be 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…’ In view of above, the Commission held that the liability of the State of Madhya Pradesh for payment of the amount to be ordered as ‘immediate interim relief’ u/s 18(3) of the Act cannot, therefore, be doubted and this liability of State does not depend upon and need not be deferred till, fixation of liability of any individual public servant. Accordingly, the Commission awarded a sum of Rs.3 lakhs as immediate interim relief to the two victims. Compliance has since been made, following an intervention with the Chief Minister of the State.
Shri P.S. Chhabra, Additional Sessions Judge, Lalitpur, sent a copy of
this judgement dated 29 July 2000 in a case under Section 20 of the NDPS Act
acquitting the accused, Navi Ullah, and holding that the accused was falsely
implicated by the police, violating his human rights. The judgement
contained a request that an independent investigation be made by the
National Human Rights Commission, or by some other agency, so that action
could be taken against the errant police personnel.
A complaint was received from Shri Balraj Puri alleging that personnel of the Border Security Force had misbehaved with and manhandled his teenaged son without any provocation or justification and that subsequently the SHO of the concerned police station refused to register a FIR about the incident. His successive complaints to higher authorities were ignored, he further alleged.
As regards the alleged misbehaviour by the BSF personnel, the authorities in the BSF had taken suitable action against the concerned personnel and had also communicated their regret to Shri Puri over the incident.
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir was asked to send a report on the second aspect of the complaint, viz., the conduct of the SHO in refusing to register a F.I.R. As there was no response to a notice issued to the Government and subsequent reminders, the Commission decided to issue summons to the Chief Secretary. In response, the Additional Chief Secretary appeared on behalf of the Government of Jammu & Kashmir when Shri Puri was also present, and regretted that there had been lapse on the part of the police in not entertaining the complaint of Shri Balraj Puri’s son. He stated that the Head of the Police Administration had been advised to correct the lapse and that appropriate action would be taken to rectify the mistakes.
The Commission took ‘suo motu’ cognizance of a newspaper report which appeared in The Pioneer of 5 August, 1997 under the caption "Students Face PAC Jawans Wrath". The Commission directed issue of notice to the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police). Varanasi and further directed its Investigation Division to get an on-the-spot enquiry conducted. The report of the Investigation Division, corroborated by an independent investigation conducted by the State CID, established high-handedness on the part of PAC personnel in wrongfully confining and assaulting a group of people who had gathered to felicitate a friend on his academic achievement. Indeed, the State CID, upon completing their investigation, submitted a charge sheet against 28 PAC personnel for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Varanasi.
After taking into account the unprovoked nature of the attack and wrongful confinement, the gravity of injuries caused to the person of the victims, the nature, extent and likely costs of the medical treatment that may be involved, as also the prospects of physical incapacitation, residual impairment of faculties, and, indeed, the violation of the dignity and integrity of the person, the Commission recommended interim compensation by way of "immediate interim relief" as per the Sub-Section (3) of Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Acts 1993 to the victims, the compensation amount to each of them ranging between Rupees ten thousand and twenty five thousand. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has since confirmed that a sanction has been accorded by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh for the payment of interim relief to the victims, as directed by the Commission.
The Commission received a complaint from Shri Shakuni Choudhary and Shri George Fernandes of the Samata Party alleging harassment by police of Shri Shakuni Choudhary and members of his family. The Commission called for reports from the DGP Bihar as well as from its own investigation team.
On considering the investigation reports, the Commission recommended that immediate departmental action be taken against the erring police officers, including a Dy. S.P. and SHO, for harassing Shri Shakuni Choudhary, and attaching his property without justification. The Commission directed the DGP Bihar to report within four months on the results of the departmental inquiry. The Commission, convinced that Shri Shakuni Choudhary and members of his family had been tortured and their dignity lowered, recommended a consolidated sum of Rs.25,000/- by way of compensation and directed the Government of Bihar to make the payment to the complainant. The Government complied with the direction, upon further interventions by the Commission, and paid the sum of Rs.25,000/- to Shri Choudhary. Departmental proceedings against the erring police officers were also initiated.
The Commission received a complaint from one Rita Dhawan that the Maruti van of her husband, while returning from Varanasi, was surrounded by six policemen, near the Police Station Civil Lines, Ranchi, who demanded Rs. one lakh and, on being refused, shot at the petitioner’s husband and others in the van from point blank range and killed him. They also removed the gold chain, rings and wrist watch from the body of the deceased. On notice from the Commission, the Under Secretary, Govt. of Bihar submitted a report stating that the SHO of the police station on 5 December 1993, on receiving information that some criminals were absconding in the said van, followed the van alongwith other police staff and as the persons in the van were firing recklessly, police returned the fire and as a result three of those in the van were killed. A report was lodged about the incident, the police officers were suspended and a case under Section 302/379/201/31 IPC was registered against the SHO and others. The accused persons were arrested and the case was under trial in the Court of the Session Judge, Gaya. The trial ended in a conviction and several persons were sentenced to the extreme penalty of law. But the Commission decided not to close the case and issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Bihar, as to why, in the circumstances of the case, Smt. Rita Dhawan should not be awarded an "immediate interim relief of Rs. 10 lakhs without prejudice to her private law rights for damages. The State Government responded contending that as the accused persons had already been convicted and sentenced to death, the Government found no justification for paying a sum of Rs.10 Lakhs as compensation and that it would cause unnecessary financial burden on the State.
In the Commission’s analysis, the stand taken by the State Government seemed to have proceeded on the assumption that the establishment of culpability of public servants at a criminal trial and their conviction and sentence puts at rest even the claim for compensation or immediate interim relief’ to the dependents of the victim envisaged in Section 18 (3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. In the Commission’s view the assumption was not only wrong but the position was diametrically opposite. The case for award of interim-relief really became a fortiori. The ‘immediate interim relief’ envisaged under Section 18 (3) of the Act has to be granted for the injury/loss which the victims or the members of the family have suffered owing to the violation of human rights by public servants and the establishment of culpability of the involved public servants cannot absolve the State of its liability for compensation. The Commission noticed that a welfare State, recognising its obligation to relieve its citizens in distress, particularly those who are victims of violations of their rights by public servants, had enacted the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 under which the State sought advice from the Commission as to what, in the Commission’s view, was the right thing to do and what immediate interim relief be given in a particular case so that the State could act on that recommendation. Thus, according to the Commission, any State professing to be a welfare State is expected to give a meaning to Section 18(3) of the Act, ensuring liberal construction to promote the philosophy of the Statute and advance its beneficent and benevolent purposes.
Seen in this context, the Commission felt that the stand of the Government of Bihar would only expose it to avoidable legal hassles and investigations. The Commission, accordingly, considered the stand of the State Government wholly untenable and recommended that the State Government pay immediate interim relief of Rs. 10 Lakhs to Smt. Dhawan without prejudice to her private law rights damages. The State Government complied with the recommendations by making payment to Smt. Dhawan
Shri Brijendra Singh in a complaint to the Commission alleged that on 9 April 1994, certain police officials came to his house, destroyed his household articles as well as those of his family members and caused a loss of Rs.2,00,000/- under the directions of the SHO. Despite protest by the local population, the doors and windows of his house were extensively damaged. The police allegedly also took away Rs.18,400/- in cash and 500 gms. of gold. The complainant supported his allegations by photographs showing the extent of damage done to his properties.
In response to the notice issued by the Commission, the Government of Uttar Pradesh submitted a report stating that in a pending case against the complainant, the police had gone to his home or a number of occasions to apprehend him. Unable to succeed in their effort, a coercive process in the form of an attachment proceeding was obtained from the court. During the course of attachment, the State Government admitted that some police officials had committed irregularities for which censure had been recorded in their personal files and disciplinary action had also been taken against the Inspectors and subordinate police officers.
Upon consideration of the report, the Commission noted that though irregularities were admitted in the report, the State Government did not mention clearly whether the guilty police officials were being prosecuted. The report was also silent regarding the allegation of destruction of property worth Rs.2,00,000/- by the police and the taking away of Rs.18,400/- in cash and 500 gms. of gold. The Commission found the report very sketchy as it did not respond to all the allegations. The Commission, therefore, rejected the report and called for a fresh report from the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh, requesting him to respond to all the allegations in the complaint and the observations made by it.
In a subsequent report, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh stated that a Circle Officer and three Sub-Inspectors had been found guilty of committing irregularities during the attachment proceeding. A censure entry had been made in the confidential report of the Circle Officer and departmental proceedings had been initiated against three Sub-Inspectors involved in this case. The report denied the taking away of cash and ornaments and also causing damage to the properties of the complainant and his family members. It was reported that during the inquiry, no evidence was found to support the involvement of the policemen in criminal activities and they, therefore, had not been prosecuted.
The Commission noted that the State Government in its report had admitted that during the course of executing the process of attachment, some "irregularities" committed by the police had come to light. The word "irregularities", the Commission observed, was an apologetic euphemism for wanton destruction. The Commission noted that in the successive reports of the State Government, the allegations made by the complainant about the ransacking of his house and the destruction of property have not been traversed and have been admitted without, however, mentioning the extent of the damage so caused. The Commission further noted that the photographs filed along with the complaint corroborate the allegation of damage to the property.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the Commission made the following observations and recommendations:
1. The penalty imposed by giving a "censure" in the service book of the Circle Officer was disproportionate to the gravity of the offences on his part. The DGP, Uttar Pradesh was, therefore, requested to review the departmental proceedings and to initiate proceedings to enhance the punishment in a manner that was commensurate with the misconduct, taking into account the gravity of misconduct.
2. As there was prima facie evidence to hold that the petitioner had suffered humiliation, harassment and mental torture at the hands of the Circle Officer and three Sub-Inspectors; sustained losses owing to irregularities, admittedly committed by the police officials in the presence of a Gazetted police officer while executing the process of attachment; and keeping in view the ransacking of articles, destruction of property as admitted by the State Government in its report, an interim relief of Rs.1,00,000/- be paid to the complainant Shri Bijendra Singh.
The Commission further observed that the State Government was at liberty to initiate proceedings for the recovery of this sum from the errant officials as their highhandedness had exposed the Government to this liability. The Commission was informed by the State Government that interim relief of Rs. 1,00,000 was sanctioned by it.
The Commission received a complaint from one Mukesh in May, 1996 stating that a dispute existed between his brother, Surinder Singh, and a certain Chhatar Singh, in regard to a tubewell. He added that the Sub Inspector of Police, R.K.Sharma, in connivance with the latter, had implicated his brother in a false case of theft. He also alleged that though a sum of Rs. 2000 had been paid to the Police upon their demand, but that the Sub Inspector had continued to torture Surinder Singh. As a result of this humiliation, he stated that Surinder Singh had committed suicide on 5 May, 1996, leaving behind a written note blaming Sub Inspector R.K. Sharma for his death.
The Commission directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh to investigate the matter and submit a report. According to the report received, the Sub Inspector had indeed implicated Surinder Singh in a case under Sec. 379/411 IPC. He had then demanded Rs.5000, but only Rs.2000 was paid by him. The Sub Inspector had thereafter threatened the complainant and his family members and, as a result of this harassment and mental torture, Surinder Singh committed suicide. In the course of the investigation, it was learnt that a case had been registered against the Sub Inspector under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. It was also learnt that a Head Constable, Assistant Sub-Inspector and a Station House Officer were also involved in this incident and that disciplinary action had been recommended against them. The Sub Inspector had been suspended and the Head Constable and other police officials had been charge-sheeted under the Police Rules.
After considering the report, the Commission considered it appropriate to award interim relief in the amount of Rs.1 lakh to the legal heirs of the deceased who, by admission of the police itself, were tortured while in custody and forced to commit suicide. The Commission further directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Bijnore to inform the Commission of the progress in the various proceedings against the police officials.
The Commission by its order dated 11 May 2000, recommended an award of interim relief in an amount of Rs.1 lakh to the legal heir of the deceased who, by admission of the police itself, was tortured while in custody and committed suicide. The Commission has directed the Sr. Supdt. of Police, Bijnore, to inform the Commission of the progress in the various proceedings against the delinquent police officials.
The State Government reported that the interim relief of Rs.1 lakh has been sanctioned to the next of kin of the deceased on 30 January 2002. As regards action against errant policemen, it was reported that the erring SI had been placed under suspension and departmental proceedings instituted against the other erring policemen by issuing charge sheets against them.
The Commission initiated proceedings in this case on the basis of a petition dated 27 July 1998 from Shri G. Puttaswamy Gowda, former Minister, Karnataka alleging atrocities against farmers of ten villages of C.R. Pattna Taluk, Hassan District, Karnataka who engaged in an agitation on 20-21 July 1998. Similar complaints were also received from Shri D.M. Chandrashekhar, retired Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court; H.K. Patel, former leader of the Opposition; M. Gopal, Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (Karnataka State Committee); P. Kodanada Ramaiah, ex-MP; M. Veerappa Moily, former Chief Minister, Karnataka and four others.
Upon considering these petitions, the Commission deputed its Special Rapporteur, Shri Chaman Lal, to make an on-the-spot investigation of the situation and submit a report. He met the complainants, the victims, the concerned government officials and various public figures in Hassan and Bangalore and presented his report to the Commission on 2 June 1999. The Commission also received a detailed report from the Government of Karnataka.
Having examined both the reports, the Commission recommended that an assessment be made of the quantum of property loss and the nature of injury suffered by individual victims as a result of the police action. The Commission further proposed that this be done by inviting public claims and that these claims should be examined by a suitably constituted Committee, headed by an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government. Based on the recommendations of that Committee, the Commission suggested that compensation be paid to the victims. The State Government was asked to report to the Commission on the action taken.
In compliance, the Government of Karnataka informed the Commission that a High-Powered Committee had been constituted by the State Government under the leadership of the Home & Transport Department and had started functioning as of 17 February 2000. The Committee had received as many as 1,343 claims from victims, had visited the concerned villages and inspected the properties in order to verify the authenticity of the claims that had been filed. The Government of Karnataka subsequently reported again, saying that work was well underway and that it was awaiting the final report of the Committee, which was expected shortly.
Acting upon the recommendations of the Commission the State Govt. of Karnataka has submitted the final report of High Powered Committee constituted on 14 January 2000 to consider the amount of compensation for property loss and injury to farmers during the police atrocities at Bagur Naville.
In accordance with the recommendations of the said committee, the Govt. of Karnataka has accorded sanction for the payment of compensation to the victims. Taking into consideration the aforesaid compliance report, the Commission close the case 13 February 2002.
A non-governmental organization, Peoples Watch - Tamil Nadu, filed a complaint on 22 December 1998 asserting that serious acts of police high-handedness had occurred against dalits in Ogalure village, Perambalur District, Tamil Nadu during the night of 30 November 1998 and again in the early morning of 1 December 1998.
Upon examining the complaint and the response received from the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Commission considered it essential to conduct a series of hearings at its Headquarters.
At the conclusion of these hearings, the Commission pronounced its views. The Commission noted that the police had received information that activists of the Dalit Panthers India were planning to destroy public properties in Cuddalore and Perambalur areas. Upon hearing that militants belonging to this organization were hiding in Ogalure village, the police had gone to that village to make preventive arrests. The Commission further noted that the police had initially sent a small party into the village during the night of 30 November 1998. However, as this was repulsed, the police had sent in a large party in the early hours of 1 December 1998, armed at least with lathis. This party appeared to have assaulted the villagers with lathis, injuring some of them and breaking their utensils.
From the evidence available, the Commission observed that the injuries did not appear to be very serious, except in respect of two women. The evidence available clearly indicated that Loganayaki was assaulted by the police and, as a result, suffered injuries on her back and stomach, which required her to take medical treatment. There was no explanation forthcoming from the respondents for the assault on Loganayaki, who was a physically disabled person and inside her hut. Though the respondents had challenged the date on which Loganayaki’s affidavit had been recorded by the complainants, the basic fact of Loganayaki having been assaulted and injured by the policemen on the morning of 1 December 1998 could not be doubted. The injuries had resulted in internal bleeding, though the scant medical evidence before the Commission did not satisfactorily establish whether she had suffered an abortion or not. The second injured lady was Muthamil Selvi, who fractured her hand as a result of the police assault on 1 December 1998.
The Commission further noted that the police had rounded up and arrested 69 persons on December 1998. Of these, 34 were women, 3 of them with infants, and there were 4 elderly persons. The rest were men. After considering the reasons and circumstances mentioned by the police in respect of these arrests, the Commission concluded that the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 416 in regard to the steps to be taken at the time of making an arrest had not followed by the police. No arrest memos were prepared. While the arrested persons were produced before the Judicial Magistrate at 5 PM on the same day, they were remanded to police custody upto 15 December 1998. Their bail applications were also rejected. However, on 17 December 1998, the High Court granted bail to all the persons arrested, on furnishing a bond of Rs. 5,000 each and they were redressed on 18 December 1998. Charge sheets against these persons were, however, filed only on 29 November 1999, almost a year after the incident and long after the present complaint had been filed before the Commission and notices had been issued to the respondents.
From the explanation given by the police to the Commission for arresting 34 women, infants and elderly persons, the Commission noted that these persons were deprived of their liberty for trying to prevent the arrest of 32 men from the village. There was no allegation that these women, children or elderly persons were armed with any weapon or that they had, in fact, attacked the police party although stones were thrown at the police party by some of the villagers and at least one policeman was injured in stone throwing. The Commission observed that the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court were intended to check the abuse of police power, to ensure transparency and accountability and at the same time efficiency and effectiveness in the police. The Supreme Court had observed that the police force needed to develop a proper work culture, training and orientation consistent with basic human values. Though the guidelines were required to be circulated to every police station, they appeared to have been ignored.
In these circumstances, the Commission took the view that there was need to pay interim compensation to the 34 women, some of them with infants, and the elderly persons who were detained from 1 to 18 December 1998, for no reason, at the insistence of the police.
The Commission also commented on a separate incident, which had a bearing on the present case. On 17 December 1998, one Chandra, daughter of Rasu, who was a dalit, was raped by Ramaraj, a Vanniyar. Chandra was a widow at the time. On the complaint of Chandra, a Crime No. 766/98 was registered by Mangalamedu Police Station under Sections 341, 324 and 376 read with Section 511 of the Indian Penal Code. Ramaraj was arrested. He was, however, released on bail. No complaint under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was registered. It was only after a year, when a Member of the Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes visited Ogalure village on 24 December 1999, that an offence under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against Ramaraj. The respondents were unable to explain why a crime under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was not initially registered on the complaint of Chandra. Had this been done in good time, she could have received compensation under the Act amounting to Rs. 25,000, which could have helped her in her medical treatment. By the time the compensation was awarded on 6 January 2000, Chandra had died and the compensation could be paid only to her father.
The Commission accordingly condemned the gross negligence of the police in handling such crimes, particularly when the victim was entitled to the benefit of compensation under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and timely receipt of such compensation could have been of great help to her possibly saving her life. The Commission observed that police officers were expected to know the provisions of this Act and added that they should register complaints under this Act when the complaint clearly relates to the violation of provisions of this Act. The Commission stated that the non-recording of an offence under this Act in the case of Chandra had, therefore, to be condemned. It also asked the State of Tamil Nadu to inquire further into the matter in order to take appropriate action against the errant police personnel.
The Commission concluded that the case represented an instance of lawlessness on the part of the police which had resulted in serious injuries to two women and the arrest and detention of 34 women with children and 4 elderly persons from 1 December 1998 to 18 December 1998, when there was no justification for depriving them of their liberty for such a length of time. It was essential for the preservation of the Rule of Law that legitimate duties assigned to the law enforcement agencies were lawfully discharged and that people who were poor not maltreated or their meager belongings mindlessly destroyed or damaged by persons who were entrusted by law with the duty of maintaining law and order.
The Commission, therefore, recommended that the State of Tamil Nadu pay to Loganayaki a sum of Rs. 1 lakh, to Muthamil Selvi a sum of Rs. 50,000 and to each of the 34 women and elderly persons arrested a sum of Rs. 10,000 each, and an additional compensation of Rs. 5,000 per child to the women with children, as immediate interim compensation. The State was also directed to take appropriate departmental action to identify the errant police officials, to punish them for not following the D.K. Basu guidelines and to further ensure that the guidelines were circulated to all police stations be followed rigidly. The Commission made the above recommendations without prejudice to the pending criminal prosecutions.
The Commission had recommended in its order dated 26 September 2000 that the State of Tamil Nadu pay the victim, Loganyaki, a sum of Rs.1 lakh, the victim Muthamil Selvi a sum of Rs.50,000/- and a sum of Rs.10,000/- to each of the 34 women and elderly persons arrested, together with an additional compensation of Rs.5000/- per child to the children who were involved. It also called for appropriate departmental action to identify the errant police officials, to punished them for not following the D.K.Basu guidelines and to further ensure that the guidelines were circulated to all police stations rigidly.
The Government of Tamil Nadu has informed the Commission through its letter dated 29 November 2000, that its recommendations regarding award of compensation had been complied with, and that disciplinary proceedings have also been initiated against the guilty officials.
Dinakar B. Padvi, Nandurbar, Maharashtra filed a complaint with the
Commission alleging that on 28 June 2000 one leopard entered Khapar town in
Taluk Akkalkua, Nan-Durbar, Maharashtra. Intrigued by the leopard many
people gathered to see it. The Police too tried to catch the leopard alive
but as they did not succeed, they opened fire. According to the complainant,
his son Salman Dinkar Padvi was seriously injured in the police firing and
later succumbed to his injuries in the government hospital. The Commission
called for a report in this matter from the Director General of Police,
Maharashtra. In response the Deputy Conservator of Forests admitted to the
fact that Salman Dinkar Padvi had died in the police firing. The Commission
also observed that simply because it was an accidental death it did not
absolve the State Government of its responsibility to pay immediate interim
relief under section 18(3) of the Act. to the legal heirs of the deceased,
who according to the complainant was the only bread-winner of the family.
The Commission took suo-motu cognizance of the news item titled “Again UP
cops kill wrong target: student” and “Mistaken identity: Police shoots girl”
which appeared in The Indian Express and the Statesman respectively on 18
July 2002. It was alleged that Sonali, a 2nd year Post Graduate student of
S.N. Medical College in Agra was shot dead by the police on the Agra-Mathura
road on 16 June 2002 when she and her friend were returning in a car to
Agra. Subsequently, the Commission also received a complaint from Chinmoy
Bose, father of late Sonali Bose praying for appropriate action against the