//Custodial deaths HC awards compensation

Custodial deaths HC awards compensation

GUWAHATI, May 11 – The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Hrishikesh Roy today by a judgment and order directed the Union of India to pay an amount of Rs 4 lakh each to the family members of late Pratul Daimary and his namesake Pratul Daimary of village Naoherua, Mazbat. Two writ petition were filed vide WP(C) No. 2154/04 and 2155/04 by the father and wife of late Pratul Daimary and Pratul Daimary claiming judicial enquiry into the death of both the Daimarys and demanded exemplary punishment to the guilty.
The allegation of the petitioners was that both the detainees were picked up by Army personnel on several occasions and finally both of them were killed on March 7, 2004.

The contention of the Army authorities was that both the detainees had link with the banned NDFB organisation and were killed in an encounter while Army personnel retaliated in self-defence.

The District and Sessions Judge, Darrang was earlier directed to make an enquiry into the aforementioned incident. The enquiry report was submitted by the District and Sessions Judge accepting the version of the Army authority.

The High Court after hearing both the writ petitions at length and also after going through the enquiry report, depositions of all witnesses came to a finding that both the detainees were killed while they were in the custody of Army and accordingly directed the Army to pay Rs 4 lakh each to family members of those killed.

The court further directed Union authorities to register a case under Section 302 IPC against the then lieutenant, Sartaj Mehta along with the provisions of Army Act.

The court directed payment of compensation amount within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of the judgment.

Bijan Mahajan, Arshad Choudhury, PK Das and NJ Das advocates appeared for the petitioners. R Bora, Central Government Counsel appeared for the Union of India.