Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

"Injury Due To State Action Considered At Higher Standard": Delhi High Court Grants ₹15L Compensation To Victim Of 1997 CP Shootout

Nupur Thapliyal
29 April 2022 7:45 AM GMT
Injury Due To State Action Considered At Higher Standard: Delhi High Court Grants ₹15L Compensation To Victim Of 1997 CP Shootout
x

The Delhi High Court has granted compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs to a victim of Connaught Place shootout which took place on 31st March 1997. The man was grievously injured and continued to carry shrapnel in his body. The Court observed that the injury caused due to the state action where the police officials were convicted of criminal offences needs to be considered at "higher standard" as...

The Delhi High Court has granted compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs to a victim of Connaught Place shootout which took place on 31st March 1997. The man was grievously injured and continued to carry shrapnel in his body.

The Court observed that the injury caused due to the state action where the police officials were convicted of criminal offences needs to be considered at "higher standard" as compared to ordinary cases of negligence and inaction.

Justice Pratibha M Singh clarified that the order was being passed in peculiar facts and circumstances of the case as the incident was not an ordinary incident.

Keeping in mind inflation rates, the Court directed that a sum of Rs.15 lakhs be awarded as compensation to the victim, which shall be paid along with simple interest @ 8% per annum, from the date of incident till the date of payment.

"In addition, a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs shall also be awarded as litigation costs to the Petitioner. From the total sum payable, a sum of Rs.1 lakh, if already paid in terms of order dated 10th December, 1999, shall be adjusted. The said compensation along with interest shall be paid by Respondent No.1 to the Petitioner, within a period of eight weeks from today, failing which, on the entire amount, interest @ 7.5% per annum shall be liable to be paid by the Respondent No.1. 35. It is made clear," the Court ordered.

The Court allowed the plea filed by one of the three victims of the incident namely Tarun Preet Singh, who along with his two friends, was travelling in a car and had stopped at Barakhamba Road, near Connaught Place when a shootout involving the Delhi Police, took place.

When the three friends were taken to the Hospital, the two friends were declared brought dead while the Petitioner was injured. An FIR was registered on the very next day and the Chargesheet was also filed. The Petitioner was discharged from hospital on 15th April, 1997. The petition was filed in December, 1998, seeking compensation of Rs.1 crore.

The trial pursuant to Chargesheet concluded on 16th October, 2007, and 10 police officials were convicted. They were sentenced to life imprisonment on 24th October, 2007. The said conviction was upheld by the High Court and by the Supreme Court.

"The cause of the Incident is beyond the remit of this petition. The conviction of the police officials has achieved finality. The injury caused to the Petitioner, was an act of the police officials, who were acting in their official capacity," the Court noted.

The Court also noted that the Petitioner was grievously injured and continued to carry shrapnel in his body. Subsequently, it was claimed that he was not able to take regular employment in view of the injuries suffered.

"Thus, the Petitioner has spent the prime of his life for almost 25 years as a victim of this Incident. The facts are undisputed, i.e., that the injury caused to him was not justifiable in any manner. As on today, he is about 43 years of age and has two children. At the time when the incident took place, he was approximately 20 years old and was unemployed," the Court said.

While the families of the two victims who passed away were compensated by a payment of Rs.15 lakhs each, It was argued on behalf of the Petitioner that the mental trauma was much higher than that of the deceased persons. Therefore, the question before the Court was whether the compensation should be the same as that awarded to the families of deceased, or lesser or more.

The Court noted that years that repeatedly the matter was adjourned to await the outcome of the criminal trial at the request of counsels for parties, leading to a situation where the claim for compensation was being considered 25 years after the incident.

"The time that has lapsed obviously ought to go in favour of the Petitioner. He has lost his entire period of youth, being embroiled in proceedings relating to the incident. The mental trauma for such a person cannot simply be gauged. The trauma is not limited to the individual but also to his near and dear ones, who have rendered physical, mental and emotional support to the Petitioner, which may include his parent, spouse and now, his children. When the Petitioner appeared before the Court on 19th December, 2019, it was clear that he is suffering from some disability in the right arm. While the disability can be characterized as being not a major disability, the fact that he has not been able to lead a normal life for the last 25 years cannot be ignored," the Court said.

It added that for a young boy of 20 years of age, suffering of any kind of disability due to no fault of his cannot be justified or trivialized.

"Injury caused due to the state action and that too one, where the police officials were convicted of criminal offences and not some inaction or negligence, needs to be considered at higher standard as compared to those of ordinary cases of negligence and inaction," the Court said.

Accordingly, the plea was allowed.

Case Title: TARUN PREET SINGH v. UNION OF INDIA & ANR.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 380

Click Here To Read Order 


Next Story