Commission directs compensation for victim of police negligence

The death of an undertrial prisoner, Rajan Singh, was intimated to the Commission by the Additional IG, Prisons, UP. According to the report received, Shri Rajan Singh had been detained in District Jail, Agra since 18 January 1995. On 20 September 1995 he tried to escape from a police truck while being taken to court along with 13 other undertrial prisoners. It was also reported that another undertrial prisoner, Sanjay Tiwari, who was also travelling in the same truck had jumped and escaped from custody.

The post-mortem report stated that death had occurred due to shock and haemorrhages caused by ante-mortem injuries. According to the magisterial report, Rajan Singh had consumed liquor supplied by police personnel while in custody and had also picked up a fight with them under the influence of liquor. The report held the police personnel guilty of negligence, as they had not provided adequate and satisfactory escort to the prisoner.

The Commission was of the view that the theory of an attempted escape from custody was a make-believe one. The injuries supposedly caused by jumping from a moving vehicle, particularly when there was no mention that Rajan singh was prevented by anyone from jumping, could not be as serious and extensive as to have caused death. Further, the half-hearted magisterial inquiry, which indicated that Rajan Singh had been administered liquor while in custody, pointed to the fact that he could have been subjected to severe beating in the police vehicle.

The Commission accordingly directed the State to pay an immediate interim compensation of Rs. 5.00 lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased. The Commission also expressed doubt as to whether the second undertrial prisoner, Sanjay Tiwari, had really escaped from custody or had been done to death and his body disposed of. It therefore directed the Government to entrust the two cases to the State CBCID for in-depth investigation and action thereon. The Commission also recommended the initiation of appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible for the two incidents and suitable action in accordance with the law.