Indian Government fined for prisoners death
In a case of custodial death in prison, the National Human Rights Commission of India has recommended Punjab state Government to pay One Lakh rupees as monetary relief to the next of kin of one under trial prisoner. It has also sought a compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks from the receipt of letter.
The Commission during the course of the proceedings in the matte found that One Amarjit Singh was sent to the Court on 22nd February 2004 for hearing of his case. When he returned to the jail from the court, he was hale and hearty. After dinner, he suddenly became unwell. He was sent to hospital but his life could not be saved. The post mortem report could not ascertain the cause of his death. The viscera report indicated that the prisoner had consumed insecticide either in the judicial lock-up or during the return journey from the court. During the magisterial enquiry, it was not ascertained from where the prisoner got the poison and when he consumed it. However, there was no doubt that the insecticide was consumed by Amarjit Singh while he was in custody.
The Commission considered the post-mortem report, vicera report and Magisterial Enquiry report, and found prima facie that the custodial death of under trial prisoner Amarjit Singh in Central Jail, Ludhina was attributable to the negligence of watch and ward staff. If the escort and guards had kept a proper watch on him, he would have not consumed the poisonous substance and the incident could have been averted. The Commission concluded that negligence of the staff, thus, became a cause for loss of life and the State cannot evade its liability to compensate the family of the deceased.
Death in police custody
The National Human Rights Commission has also recommended Bihar Government to pay a sum of Two lakhs rupees as monetary relief to the next of kin of Lallan Shah who died in police custody. The Commission has also asked for a compliance report and proof of payment within eight weeks from the receipt of the letter.
Lallan Shah was arrested by ASI Anwar Suleman of P.S. Dinara on 14th May, 2003 in the early hours of the morning and he was booked in a case u/s 399/402/307/353 IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act. He was brought to the police station in injured condition and after providing initial treatment in the local hospital he was sent to Sasaram for production in Court. However, on the way to Sasaram he collapsed and died. The information of his death was communicated to the Commission by SP, Rohtas.
The post-mortem revealed 19 injuries on his body. A criminal case u/s 304 IPC was registered at PS Dinara against unknown persons vide FIR no. 59/2003. The Magisterial Enquiry was conducted by SDM, Sasaram. In its report he has observed that Lallan had been assaulted by Kharak Pasi and other persons in the presence of police. The report further noted that the police party had left the village Bhagatganj at about 6.00 A.M. after arrest of Lallan Shah but it reached the P.S. at 11.00 A.M. No explanation was given to the Magistrate by the police for its delayed arrival at the police station. The Magistrate concluded that the police personnel had been careless and negligent in giving appropriate medical care to the accused.
IG (HR), Bihar had communicated the outcome of investigation of FIR no. 59/2003 on 15/11/2005. It was conveyed that the allegations u/s 304 IPC could not be substantiated during investigation but ASI Suleman and some other unknown persons had been found guilty u/s 341/342/323/325 IPC and charge sheet had been filed against them in the court on 18/5/2005.
The Commission considered MER and other reports and it was found prima facie that the police was not only a party to the assault on the accused; it had also failed to provide medical treatment to him. The police remained a mute spectator when Lallan Shah was assaulted in its presence by Kharak Pasi and other persons. Police made no efforts to protect the accused from assault. The Magistrate found that the police had itself given beating to him. The journey from the village to the police station should have taken only one hour but the police took nearly five hours to reach the police station. However, no explanation for the delay was given to the Magistrate. Even after coming to the police station, the accused was not properly taken care of. He was given first aid in the local hospital and he was sent to Sasaram The accused could not bear the strain and collapsed.
A Show Cause Notice u/s 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was issued to the Government of Bihar requiring the Chief Secretary to explain why monetary relief of Rs. Two Lakhs be not given to the family of the deceased. In response thereto, the State Government has conveyed vide sanction order dated 20/10/2008 that financial assistance of Rs. One lakh has been paid to the next of kin of the deceased. However, the Commission felt that Rs. One Lakh will be grossly inadequate. Therefore, it recommended to the Government of Bihar to pay a sum of Rs. Two Lakhs as monetary relief to the next of kin of Lallan Shah.