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[Custodial Deaths] Gujarat HC Denies Bail To Gram Rakshak Dal Jawan, Notes Genitals Of Deceased Were Injured With Mobile Charger Cable

PRIYANKA PREET
10 Aug 2022 7:15 AM GMT
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In a case involving custodial deaths of two persons due to alleged police brutality, the Gujarat High Court has declined bail to a Gram Rakshak Dal Jawan (GRD Jawan) discharging duties at the Police Station.

As per the investigation, the deceased were beaten with sticks, belts, fist and kicks, threatened with electric current, rags of inflammable liquid were placed the on their bodies, and their genitals were injured with the mobile charger cable.

The GRD Jawan, though was not named in the FIR, was arraigned after a witness named him. He was thus booked under Sections 302, 343, 114, 326, 330 and 331 of the IPC and Sec 135 of the Gujarat Police Act.

Justice AY Kogje noted that there were several independent witnesses in front of whom both the deceased and the injured witness were tortured. It also noted that the antecedents of the GRD Jawan are sufficient to indicate his conduct.

The background of the case was that three persons, arrested for theft were taken to the police station and received such injuries that two of them died while the Injured Witness sustained serious injuries. The Witness had given four previous statements, however in the fifth statement, role was attributed to the instant Applicant for inflicting injuries.

The Applicant primarily contested that the trial was likely to consume a long time and the Applicant, a young man, deserved bail on account of cooperation with the investigation. Further, the Applicant opposed the reliance on his precedents since he was acquitted in past cases.

Per contra, the APP was opposed to bail in light of the nature and gravity of offences, particularly because two persons who were falsely implicated had died.

The High Court noted there was a common intention amongst the accused persons since they had kept the victims unlawfully in the police station and worked in tandem with each other to inflict injuries. They had complete knowledge of the 'DK Basu judgement' of the Supreme Court and yet did not implement Sec 56 and 57 of CrPC since the victims were detained for more than 24 hours without being presented before the Magistrate. The High Court recounted the nature of injuries thus:

"The accused persons involved in this case, for interrogation and recovery of muddamal of theft and confession of house breaking from the deceased Arjan Kheraj Gadhvi, deceased Harjog Hari Gadhvi and injured witness Shamra Pabu Gadhvi, beat them with stick and belt, fist and kicks, threatened with electric current, placed the rags of inflammable liquid on their body, caused injury to the genital of the injured person with the mobile charger cable and thus caused death of Arjan Kheraj Gadhvi and Harjog Hari Gadhvi and caused injuries to the witness Shamra Gadhvi."

The High Court also enunciated the various roles of the accused persons. For instance, the instant Applicant questioned the victims for the muddamal and when it was not found, the Applicant beat the victims with a stick. The Applicant was also accused of causing injuries by assaulting them on the private parts with a charger cable.

Justice Kogje emphasised that the injured witness himself was an eye-witness and his version ought to have been given 'due weightage' which implicated the Applicants and attributed some role to them. There were several other independent witnesses, as well who narrated that the victims would be taken out of the police station and brought back in injured conditions.

The High Court took into account the past offences u/s 325, 324, 323, 66(1)(B), 65(A) (E) of IPC committed by the Applicant. Further, the four accused persons were filing discharge applications and seeking adjournment which was delaying the trial. Considering these circumstances, Justice Kogje upheld the decision of the Sessions Court dismissing the bail of the Applicant.

Case No.: R/CR.MA/10587/2022

Case Title: SHAMBHUBHAI DEVRAJBHAI JARU v/s STATE OF GUJARAT

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 320

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