18 Dec 2021 4:09 AM GMT
In a writ petition seeking adequate compensation and a government job for the family of a 17-year-old boy who allegedly succumbed to death from custodial torture, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has taken note of the letter from the Government Secretary, approving Rs five lakhs compensation. Relying on the 2015 government order sanctioning financial assistance to the victims...
In a writ petition seeking adequate compensation and a government job for the family of a 17-year-old boy who allegedly succumbed to death from custodial torture, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has taken note of the letter from the Government Secretary, approving Rs five lakhs compensation.
Relying on the 2015 government order sanctioning financial assistance to the victims of custodial torture, the letter produced before the court states that the legal heir of the deceased will be eligible for Rs 5 Lakhs as compensation. The letter dated 13th December, 2021 also states that depending upon the receipt of the CB-CID final report and the result of the trial in Madurai Judicial Magistrate, payment of additional compensation for the victim will be considered.
Taking note of the same, Justice G.R Swaminathan asked the Government Pleader how long it would take for disbursement of Rs 5 lakhs to the petitioner mother, M Jeya. The state replied that they can disburse the amount in four weeks. The court, therefore, directed the Madurai District Collector to disburse the amount to the bereaved family in four weeks.
When Justice G.R Swaminathan was inclined to dispose of the matter in light of the above, the counsel appearing for the petitioner mother, Advocate R. Karunanidhi, requested the court to post the matter after a few weeks. He added that the compensation amount sought in the plea is much more than the sanctioned amount and the petitioner has also requested the grant of a government job.
Accordingly, the matter was adjourned to a later date.
In the writ petition filed in 2019 before the High Court, the petitioner had requested for 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. Accordingly, the court noted:
"In the final analysis, neither the death of the boy was natural nor the conduct of the police personnel and official are natural."
The court had also opined then that it was prudent to defer the ultimate decision on compensation to the petitioner since the case hadn't become conclusive yet and the status report from the new CB-CID Investigation team must be awaited.
Later, the CB-CID submitted its final report charging four police personnel of offences under Sections 324 and 304 (ii) and cognisance of the offences have also been taken.
When the matter was taken up on 24th November, 2021, Justice G.R Swaminathan had asked the Additional Public Prosecutor to obtain instructions from the Government on the same.
The original 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. The 17-year-old was taken to custody related to a complaint about the theft of some jewels in the same locality. However, according to the petitioner mother, the boy was kept in police custody from 13th January till 16th January and subjected to brutal torture. However, the police officials denied the allegation back then and submitted that he was taken into custody on 16th January on account of a case registered against him under Sections 304(ii) and 343 of IPC. The petitioner mother 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, states 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.
Even thereafter, the police officials have actively tried to conceal the matter, submitted the petitioner.
Case Title: M. Jeya v. The Principal Secretary & Ors.
Case No: WP(MD) No.5259 of 2021