Death in Police Custody: Gujarat HC orders State to pay compensation to the kin [Read Judgment]

Death in Police Custody: Gujarat HC orders State to pay compensation to the kin [Read Judgment]

The Gujarat High Court has recently directed the State Government to pay a lump sum compensation of Rs 1.50 Lakhs on account of a detainee’s death in Police Custody, to the deceased’s mother within a period of six months.

As per the case details, Ashok Hakabai (deceased) was arrested under the Prohibition Act at Morbi. It was alleged that the victim was brutally tortured by the police officers while in custody and succumbed to his injuries during treatment. The petitioner claimed that her son was produced before the magistrate after two days of illegal detention in police custody. It was alleged that she was informed about his arrest only after the latter was admitted to the hospital. The post-mortem report revealed that the victim had sustained multiple injury marks which were ante-mortem in nature. This led the petitioner to file a private complaint against the police officers. Due inquiry was carried out and a criminal case was instituted against the erring officials. The accused approached the Sessions Court and filed a revision petition.

The complainant filed a Special Criminal Application for grant of a just amount by the State towards compensation of her son’s death. She claimed, since the death occurred as a result of illegal conduct of police officers while they were on duty, the state was vicariously incident.

After referring the Supreme Court Judgments in Nilabati Behera (Smt.) @ Lalita Behera (Through the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee) v. State of Orissa, (1993) 2 SCC 746 and Rohtash Kumar v. State of Haryana, through the Home Secretary, Government of Haryana, Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh and others, (2013) 14 SCC 290, Justice KS.Jhaveri has held as follows:

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and in view of the principle rendered by the Apex Court in the above decisions, I am of the opinion that if an amount of Rs.1.50 Lacs is awarded as compensation to the petitioner, the same would meet the ends of justice. Consequently, the respondent¬ State is directed to make payment of Rs.1.50 Lacs (Rupees One lac fifty thousand only) to the petitioner herein as lumpsum compensation, within a period of six months from today. The said amount is paid towards amicable settlement of all the grievances raised by the petitioner in connection with the death of his son while in police custody. It is clarified that this order is issued not as a concession by the respondent but, by the direction of the Court and therefore, this shall not be treated as precedent in other cases.”

Read the Judgment here.