The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday came down heavily upon the state government for detaining an innocent man, in the pretext of detaining a convict, and subsequently trying to defend its illegal actions.
"In the present case, a person, who has not been convicted in any criminal case nor is in under trial, has been sent to jail by the police. He was caught from his village and produced before the Magistrate stating that he is Husna and the learned Judge, based upon the report filed by the police, in the mechanical manner, sent him to jail.
The most unfortunate part is that the State Government while filing a reply initially has defended its illegal action of sending an innocent man, who is aged about 68 years, to jail. No amount of compensation can return the period during which, the father of the petitioner was in jail. The constitutional rights of Husan have been violated with impunity," the order read.
The matter was brought to the attention of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla, in a Habeas Corpus petition filed on behalf of the detenu, a 68 years old illiterate tribal man.
The counsel for the Petitioner alleged that 'Husna', who was actually convicted under Section 302 of IPC, died while he was on parole and the police arrested 'Husan', father of the Petitioner, instead, when the parole expired.
The State however categorically submitted that it had detained the right person. A supporting affidavit in that regard was also filed by the Sub Divisional Officer of the Police.
Nevertheless, on Petitioner's insistence, the court directed the Principal Secretary, Home Department to conduct an inquiry based upon the finger prints and other materials to unearth the facts.
The report of the Secretary revealed that the detenu was not the person who was convicted.
"An inquiry has been conducted in the matter and based upon the finger prints, a report has come duly signed by the Principal Secretary Home Department and now the Principal Secretary has stated that the person who is in jail is not Husna, meaning thereby, an innocent person is languishing in jail for the last four months," the court observed.
The court said that it is really "unfortunate" that while filing a return in the case, an attempt was made by the State of Madhya Pradesh to incriminate an innocent man.
"It was only the insistence of the petitioner which forced us to direct a thorough inquiry and to obtain a report from the Principal Secretary Home Department based upon finger prints obtained for the first time when Husna was lodged in jail and the finger print of the person, who is in jail at present i.e. Husan.
The report submitted by the Principal Secretary establishes that the person, who is in jail is not Husna, and therefore, as his detention every second is an illegal detention the respondents State is directed to release Husan, forthwith," the court held.
The court went on to remark that the present case is an example of arresting innocent people without identifying them properly. It was therefore directed that,
"in all cases, where an arrest is made, the authorities shall identify the persons so arrested on the basis of Bio-metric as well as other documents in order to ensure their identity, in order to ensure that no innocent person like the father of the present petitioner, Husan go to jail again.
The State Government shall issue necessary instruction to all the authorities and to all police authorities for assuring compliance of the order passed by this Court."
The court also lashed out at the Sub Divisional Magistrate (Police), for making an incorrect statement on the affidavit and attempting to incriminate an innocent man.
It ordered registration of a separate case for contempt against the Sub Divisional Magistrate (Police) and also against all those persons who had made various entries in the Rojnamcha, stating that the correct person had been arrested.
The court also directed the State Government to pay a compensation of Rs.5 Lakh to Husan, father of the Petitioner.
Case Title: Kamlesh v. State of MP
Case No.: WP No. 26923/2019
Quorum: Justice SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla
Appearance: Advocate Devendra Chouhan (for Petitioner); Additional Advocate General RS Chhabra with Advocate Mudit Maheshwari (for State)
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