28 Feb 2022 10:50 AM GMT
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has sought response from the Director-General of Police and Home Secretary in a writ petition seeking departmental disciplinary action against the police officers accused in the custodial death of a 17-year-old boy.The matter came up before Justice S.M. Subramaniam, who granted time to the Respondents for filing counter-affidavits and posted the case for...
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has sought response from the Director-General of Police and Home Secretary in a writ petition seeking departmental disciplinary action against the police officers accused in the custodial death of a 17-year-old boy.
The matter came up before Justice S.M. Subramaniam, who granted time to the Respondents for filing counter-affidavits and posted the case for 7th March, 2022.
The respondents include the Director General of Police, Home Secretary, Inspector General (South Zone) and Madurai Police Commissioner.
The case of the petitioner is that her minor son who was working as a cleaner in an earth mover was taken to the custody of S.S Colony Police Station, Madurai on 13th January 2019 in connection to jewelry theft. She alleged that her son was kept in police custody from 13th January till 16th January and was subjected to brutal torture. She further alleged that she received a call from the boy on the night of 15th January indicating that he was unwell and in illegal custody.
On 16th January, the petitioner was called to the police station where her son was lodged. The petitioner mother alleges that signatures were taken on blank papers by the police. Thereafter, a medical check-up of the boy was conducted. On 18th January, as per the orders of the Judicial Magistrate, the deceased, along with his family, was required to appear before Juvenile Justice Court, Madurai.
However, on 16th January itself, the health of the deceased deteriorated as a result of which he was hospitalized. On 24th January, he died, stated the petitioner.
According to the hospital, the minor boy had severe internal injuries including damaged kidneys from blunt force and assault, the petitioner adds in the affidavit.
The police officials denied the allegations back then and submitted that the deceased was taken into custody on 16th January on account of a case registered against him under Sections 304(ii) and 343 of IPC.
In the writ petition filed through Advocate R. Karunanidhi, the petitioner stated that she had sent a representation to the respondent authorities requesting departmental action against the erring police officials in January, 2021. Later, in February 2021, the petitioner directly approached the Madurai City Police Commissioner and requested action against the accused. However, such representations have not been considered, forcing her to file the current petition.
Referring to the Santhankulam murder case (Jayaraj-Bennix Custodial Deaths), the petitioner urged that action must be taken against the police officers responsible for her son's death and that they should not be allowed to continue in uniformed service.
She sought a direction to the departmental authorities to take action under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Service Discipline & Appeal Rules 1955 and the Tamil Nadu Government Servant's Conduct Rules, 1973 for police excess. Suspension of the accused is necessary to ensure a fair trial at the Madurai court, especially since the final charge sheet has been filed, the petitioner contended.
In another writ petition filed in 2019 before the High Court, the petitioner had requested comprehensive reliefs including the transfer of investigation to CB- CID, along with compensation for the family.
Via an order dated 26th March, 2019, the Madurai Bench had then transferred the investigation to CB-CID, subject to court monitoring. The court had also expressed its anguish about the manner in which the police proceeded with the matter then.
Mrs Rajeswari, I.P.S., Superintendent of Police, South Zone CBCID, Chennai was appointed as the Investigation Officer (later replaced by Vijayakumar, I.P.S) and Saravanan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, CBCID was appointed as Assistant Investigation Officer.
After registering a separate case under Section 174(2) CrPC, a thorough investigation was conducted and the charge sheet was filed. The trial court at Madurai took cognizance for the offences under Sections 343, 304(2), 166(A), 201, 204, of IPC and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The petitioner stated that the police abused their power and took the life of the petitioner's son instead of safeguarding the citizens. On account of gross violation of fundamental and human rights, departmental proceedings must have been initiated against Inspector Alex Raj, Special Sub Inspector Ravichandran, Head Constable Ravichandran, Head Constable and Traffic Police Constable Satheeshkumar.
Even at a juncture where the trial court is going to start the trial since the final report has already been filed by CB-CID, none of these officers have even been suspended, the petitioner added.
Case Title: M. Jeya v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.
Case No: W.P.(MD). No. 3669 of 2022