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Assam: Gauhati High Court Orders Rs 5 Lakh Compensation in Custodial Death Case

Gauhati High Court rules on a police custody death case, orders Rs 5 lakh compensation.

Assam: Gauhati High Court Orders Rs 5 Lakh Compensation in Custodial Death Case

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Sep 2023 12:45 PM GMT

GUWAHATI: In a recent judgment, the Gauhati High Court has issued a landmark ruling, directing the Assam government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of a man who died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody at Jorhat Police Station. The case was brought before a division bench comprising Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Mitali Thakuria in response to a writ petition filed by the victim's brother, Sabir Ansari.

The tragic incident began when Sabir Ansari was taken into police custody on October 19, 2021, in connection with a theft case registered under Section 380 of the Indian Penal Code at the Jorhat Police Station. Shockingly, just one day later, Sabir Ansari was discovered dead within the confines of the police station.

The family of the deceased alleged that Sabir Ansari had been subjected to torture and inhumane treatment during his time in custody, ultimately leading to his untimely demise. In response to this tragic event, the family demanded a thorough judicial inquiry and called for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sabir Ansari's death. Additionally, they sought compensation for their irreparable loss.

The Gauhati High Court meticulously examined the case and made several critical observations. Firstly, the court noted that the death of Sabir Ansari was far from natural; it was an unnatural death that occurred while he was under police custody. Furthermore, the court expressed its concern over the inability of the police to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the circumstances leading to Sabir Ansari's death.

Drawing upon legal precedents and the principles of justice, the Gauhati High Court cited a pertinent proposition from the Hon'ble Supreme Court. It referred to paragraph 55 of a judgment in the case of "Re-Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons," which posits that individuals who have suffered due to inhuman conditions and violations of their rights can be considered as victims. In light of this legal perspective, the court concluded that Sabir Ansari should be regarded as a victim in this case.

Based on this conclusion, the Gauhati High Court issued its order dated September 13th. In this order, the court held the State authorities responsible for the tragic and unnatural death of Sabir Ansari while in police custody. As a result, the court ordered the Assam government to pay a compensation of Rs 5,00,000 (Rupees Five Lakhs) to the next of kin of the deceased, providing some solace to the grieving family and recognizing the gravity of the injustice that occurred.

Gauhati High Court's decision in this case serves as a pivotal moment in the pursuit of justice and accountability in custodial death cases. It underscores the importance of safeguarding the rights and dignity of individuals, even when they are in police custody, and highlights the need for transparency and accountability in law enforcement. The court's ruling not only provides financial relief to the victim's family but also sets a precedent for holding authorities accountable when individuals die under unnatural circumstances while in custody.

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