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HC tells govt to pay Rs. 5 lakh to kin of custodial death victim

IMPHAL, August 25: The Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench of the chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice Asok Potsangbam has directed Manipur government to pay a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs and also asked DGP Manipur to conduct an enquiry in view of the clear finding of the custodial death of Kshetrimayum Meghamani Singh at the hand of the Kakching police.

While talking to media persons in this connection, senior Advocate Khaidem Mani, who appeared before the court on behalf of the petitioner (Ksh. Ghane Singh father of the victim Meghamani), revealed that deceased Meghamani’s father filed a writ petition at the Gauhati High Court on March 28, 2006 demanding justice alleging that his son was tortured to death by the police and demanding for justice and compensation.

The petitioner complained that his son was tortured to death on January 21, 2006 after he was arrested by Kakching police for allegedly beating his wife to death following an FIR lodged by the parental family of the his wife.

Mani further stated that Kakching police following the FIR complaint arrested Meghamani on the afternoon of January 17, 2006. On the next day Meghamani was produced before the CJM Thoubal by the police and remanded into the police custody for 6 days as pleaded.

However on January 20, the police reproduce before the competent court pleading for remanding the victim to judicial custody before the remand was over on the pretext that the investigation was over.

On January 21 Meghamani was sent to jail and the same evening the police informed the family that Meghamani died. Police also picked Ghane to attend his injured son on January 18 evening by the Kakching police.

The sequence of events was denied by the police and the Court passed an order on August 24, 2006 directing the district Judge, Manipur West to conduct an enquiry and to give a report of the events that took place and ascertain who were responsible for the death of Meghamani Singh.

The District Judge submitted a report on April 9, 2010 and clearly mentioning that the deceased Meghamani Singh was tortured by the police and as a result of which he died. The district judge also required to find out who are the persons guilty for committing the torture which resulted in the death of Meghamani.

In view of the findings of the custodial death of Kshetrimayum Meghamani Singh, the court was in the opinion that the petitioner is entitled to invoke the public law remedy available and to seek compensation for his death.

After hearing both counsel for the parties, Khaidem Mani appearing on behalf of the petitioner and senior government Advocate Th. Ibohal Singh appearing on behalf of the state of Manipur represented by principal secretary home, DGP, SP Thoubal, Additional SP of central Sajiwa Jail, OC Kakching, the double bench of the Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and justice Asok Potsangbam, on August 23, 2010 are of the view that given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and the fact that both the children of the deceased Meghamani and his wife are minors and are faced with rather unfortunate situation, the competent court was of the view that it was appropriate if compensation is given to them rather than the petitioner, their grandfather.

However the court did not inclined to release the compensation in favour of the children until they become 21 years of age because of possible misuse.

Further the court directed that on peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the state will prepare a fixed deposit receipt of rupees 2.5 lakhs each drawn in favour of both the child Ksh Chingkhei, 14 years and Ksh. Maichon. The fixed deposit receipts will be kept in the custody of the district judge, Manipur west to be encased on identification when both the child attain 21 years of age. The fixed deposit receipt will necessarily, be renewed from time to time for this purpose. Besides the fixed deposit receipts should be deposited by the state government with the learned district judge within a period of four weeks, it directed.

At the same time, the court also directed the DGP Manipur to conduct an in-house enquiry to find out who are the persons from Kakching police station who are responsible for the custodial death of the petitioner’s son.

According to the direction, the DGP should conduct the enquiry personally or cause it to be conducted by a senior police officer not below the rank of DIG of Manipur police and conclude it within a period of six months so that departmental action can then be taken against the guilty.



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