The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Delhi government to pay Rs 7 lakh as monetary relief in three cases of deaths in judicial custody. It also sought a compliance report from the chief secretary in this regard, along with proof of payment.
Accusing the state of failing to perform its duty in accordance with the law, the commission noted that the Delhi government is liable to compensate the next of kin or family members of the deceased prisoners.
The government has been asked to pay Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of Raju and Rakesh and Rs 1 lakh to the family members of Vishabh Chaudhary.
Raju (32) had died on the intervening night of April 6 and 7 in 2011 at the Rohini district jail, after he was allegedly assaulted by co-inmates.
“The jail officials brought him to the jail hospital with alleged history of physical assault by co-inmates. The prisoner was unconscious and on examination was found dead. The post-mortem showed that there were a number of ante-mortem injuries caused by hard blunt objects on different parts of Raju’s body,” an NHRC spoksperson said.
Setting aside the contention of DG (Prisons), Delhi, that no compensation may be awarded in the case, the Commission has said the prison authorities are “expected to prevent the attack on the body of a prisoner and to save him from any violence and injury caused not only by jail officials but also by co-prisoners”.
“Since they failed to perform their duty, the state is liable to compensate the next of kin of the deceased prisoner by making a payment of Rs 3 lakh,” the NHRC said.
Another prisoner, Rakesh, who was lodged in Tihar Jail, died on November 10, 2011, at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
“The metropolitan magistrate, Delhi, in his enquiry had concluded that initial circumstances surrounding the infliction of blunt trauma upon the abdomen of Rakesh was stated to be a fall from stairs and the immediate cause of death. This gave rise to suspicion,” the Commission has noted.
It added that having received no response from the chief secretary to the show cause notices issued by the NHRC, the panel observed that it appeared that it had nothing to say in the matter and, hence, it recommended that the government pay Rs 3 lakh as