//SC gives Rs 3 lakh compensation to undertrial for 54 years

SC gives Rs 3 lakh compensation to undertrial for 54 years

New Delhi, Jan. 9 (PTI): ///The Supreme Court today awarded a compensation of Rs. three lakhs to a septuagenarian from Assam, who as an undertrial spent 54 years in mental asylum and ordered holding of a high-level inquiry by the State Government into the whole issue. /// Machal Lalung was arrested at the age of 23 years in 1951 under Section 326 of the IPC for voluntarily causing grievous injuries. However, he spent his life as an undertrial languishing in Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Mental Hospital, Tezpur before being released this year. Ironically, his case never came up for hearing in the last five decades even once. Moved by his story, the court had sought from the Assam Government the factual position of the case. Perusing the materials placed before it, a Bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakker and Justice R V Raveendran directed state government to consitute a panel to file a preliminary report on the incident within two months. The court said the inquiry will be conducted by a judicial officer nominated by the Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court and a Secretary level officer named by the state government. The Bench said it will formulate a guidelines after receiving report so that no citizen will have to suffer the plight undergone by 77-year old Lalung. Discharging his bail bond as Lalung spent more time languishing as undertrial than the punishment prescribed in the statute for the alleged offence, the court as an interim measure also directed the Asssam Government to give him Rs 1000 per month to meet his expenses and free treatment and medicine through out his life in Government hospitals.