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

[Custodial Death] Madras High Court Directs CB-CID To Charge Erring Police Officials For Murder, Awards ₹5 Lakh Interim Compensation To Family

Upasana Sajeev
3 Aug 2022 2:10 PM GMT
[Custodial Death] Madras High Court Directs CB-CID To Charge Erring Police Officials For Murder, Awards ₹5 Lakh Interim Compensation To Family
x
Great responsibility on Police to ensure that citizen in its custody is not deprived of right to life.

The Madras High Court recently allowed a mother's plea to register a case for the offence of Murder against the police officials allegedly involved in the custodial death of her 22 year old son.It directed the CB-CID to alter the charge against the accused police officials and proceed against them for the offence of murder and file the final report within a period of eight weeks. The court...

The Madras High Court recently allowed a mother's plea to register a case for the offence of Murder against the police officials allegedly involved in the custodial death of her 22 year old son.

It directed the CB-CID to alter the charge against the accused police officials and proceed against them for the offence of murder and file the final report within a period of eight weeks.

The court also directed the Government of Tamil Nadu to pay a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs as interim compensation within a period of four weeks to the victim's family. The amount shall be recovered from the accused in accordance with law.

Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan observed that the Police has a responsibility to ensure that a citizen in its custody is not deprived of his right to life, except according to procedure established by law.

There is great responsibility on the police authority to ensure that the citizen in its custody is not deprived of his right to life. His liberty is in the very nature of things circumscribed by the very fact of his confinement and therefore his interest in the limited liberty left to him is rather precious. The wrong doer is accountable and the State is responsible if the person in custody of the police is deprived of his life except according tot he procedure establish by law. 

The petitioner contended that her son, the deceased was taken to the police station on 11.01.2012. On the next day, though she went to the police station, she was not allowed to see her son. On 14.01.2012, he was brought before the Magistrate and was remanded till 28.01.2012. The petitioner submitted that when her son was produced before the Magistrate, they noticed that he had sustained injuries all over his body. He was also threatened by the police not to disclose the torture given by the police personnel. Further, the remand order was made without verifying the injuries, it is alleged. 

After remand, her son informed that he suffered pain and therefore he was taken to jail hospital and thereafter he was referred to the Government Royapettah Hospital. He was not given proper treatment and again he was sent to the prison hospital. Due to the bad condition of the deceased, again he was taken to the Government Royapettah Hospital, Chennai on 16.01.2012. Unfortunately, he died on the way to the hospital on 16.01.2012 itself. The investigation was transferred to CB-CID where a case was registered under Section 176 CrPC. The petitioner further submitted that the FIR was kept without any investigation by the CB-CID.

The petitioner submitted that custodial torture and custodial death were a gross violation of one's fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Thus, she sought for alteration of the offence into one under Section 302 of the IPC and also sought compensation. 

Per contra, the Government advocate submitted that as per a complaint received from one Dinesh, a case was registered against the deceased. On seeing the witnesses, the deceased ran away and he scaled over a compound wall and jumped and fell down in which he sustained injuries. He also submitted that even as per the post-mortem report, all the injuries on the body of the deceased were antemortem and could have been accidental. Only one injury was sufficient to cause death in the ordinary cause of nature. The respondent relied on the second opinion of the Professor and Head of the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department at a Government Medical College in Chennai who submitted that the injury could be caused due to the impact of the head over the blunt surface, object, during fall or impact of any object or weapon over that part of the head. 

It was further informed that after enquiring the police personnel, the CB-CID had altered the charges to one under Sections 342, 343, 348, 324 & 304(ii) of IPC. The alteration report was filed before the Judicial Magistrate also.

The court noted that the deceased was taken to the police station on 11.01.2012 during the night hours and he was produced before the learned Magistrate only on 14.01.2012. Thus, it held that officals at the Police Station alone are responsible for the injuries sustained by the deceased.

Reliance was placed on Supreme Court's decisions holding that when death takes place inside the police station, the accused persons should be punished for the offence under Section 302 of IPC. Thus, the court wondered that when sufficient materials were available to attract the major offence under Section 304(ii) of IPC, why did the CB-CID fail to alter the charge to one under Section 302 of the IPC?

Relying on the position laid down in the case of Rudul Sah Vs. State of Bihar & Anr the court held that the petitioner was also eligible for compensation. The court noted that compensation was a palliative for the unlawful acts of the instrumentalities. 

"If civilisation is not to perish in this country as it has perished in some others, too well known to suffer mention, it is necessary to educate ourselves into accepting that, respect for the right of individuals is the true bastion of democracy. Therefore, the State must repair the damage done by its officers to the petitioner's right. It may have recourse against those officers."

The court noted that though compensation could be paid at the conclusion of trial, the dependents were still entitled for interim compensation when a prima facie case was made out as per the provisions of Section 357 A of CrPC. Thus, the court allowed the petition and ordered accordingly.

Case Title: S.Pongulali v. The State of Tamil Nadu and others

Case No: W.P.No.10249 of 2020

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 331

Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.P.Pugalenthi

Counsel for the Respondent: Mr.A.Gopinath, Government Advocate (Crl. Side) (R1-R6 and R8) 

Click here to read/download the judgment

Next Story