6 Sep 2023 2:27 PM GMT
The Madras High Court recently directed the State government to pay a sum of Rs 25 Lakh to the parents of a 17-year-old boy who passed away as a result of alleged custodial torture by the Police. “Further the mother and father of the deceased are entitled to get equal share towards compensation. They are also entitled to get interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of death...
The Madras High Court recently directed the State government to pay a sum of Rs 25 Lakh to the parents of a 17-year-old boy who passed away as a result of alleged custodial torture by the Police.
“Further the mother and father of the deceased are entitled to get equal share towards compensation. They are also entitled to get interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of death of the deceased till the realisation of the amount. The respondents 1 to 6 are directed to pay a sum of Rs.25,00,000/- to the deceased family members, i.e., father and mother of the deceased, after proper identification, within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,” the court observed.
Justice P Dhanabal added that since the trial against the erring officials was pending, the question of recovery from the erring officials could be decided by the Government.
The order was made on a plea filed by Jeya, mother of Muthu Karthick, seeking compensation of Rs.50 Lakh and a government job to a family member due to Karthick's death from custodial torture.
Jeya informed the court that based on the complaint of one Kalyanasundaram alleging that some jewels were stolen from his house, the police officers attached to the SS Colony Police Station had interrogated her and her son and had also searched their house but did not find anything. She further submitted that thereafter, on January 13, 2019 her son’s cell phone number was not reachable and two days later they came to know that he was in illegal custody.
Jeya claimed that on January 16, 2019, she received a call asking her to bring Id-proofs urgently which she took to the police station, and there the Sub-Inspector and the Inspector obtained her signature on a blank white paper and took her son to the Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai.
Jeya submitted that her son was taken to the Magistrate and then to the Juvenile Justice Board and it was only then that she realized that her son was charged with extortion and criminal intimidation. She further submitted that her son had sustained multiple injuries and though he was given treatment, he died. She added that since her son had died due to custodial torture, the authorities were liable to pay compensation for which she had approached the court.
The authorities however submitted that the investigation in the case had already been transferred to the Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) and final report had been filed for offences under Section 343 and 304(ii) IPC and pending trial. As far as compensation was concerned, it was informed that a compensation of Rs 5 Lakh had been paid to the mother of the victim. The Additional Public Prosecutor also submitted that if the court was inclined to award compensation, the same could be recovered from the erring officers.
The court noted that since it was prima facie established that the deceased died only while he was in custody of the police, it could invoke the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution to award compensation.
The court also opined that since there were no documents to prove the income of the deceased, the method adopted by in motor claims cases could be adopted.
With respect to the plea for a government job, the court said that Jeya could not seek a government job as a matter of right and the court also could not pass any orders in this regards. The court added that the same had to be considered by the State's Principal Secretary on merits.
Case Title: M Jeya v The Principal Secretary and Others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 256