The Bombay High Court has directed the State Government to pay an amount of Rs.15,29,600 to the mother of a 23-year-old man who died from alleged police atrocities.

The bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S. Waghwase observed that custodial death is one of the worst crimes in a civilized society and police cannot torture or deal with a citizen in inhuman manner.

“…custodial death is perhaps one of the worst crimes in a civilized society governed by the rule of law. Though police have powers to control the actions of the people and the crime; yet, it is not unfettered under the guise of exercise of the said power they cannot torture or deal with a citizen in inhuman manner. The State is the protector of the life of its citizens if it’s employee undertakes torturous act under the guise of power, then it has to compensate such citizen or legal representative of such citizen.”, the bench observed.

In this case, deceased Pradip was transporting sugarcane from his tractor along with petitioner, wife and cousin brother.

Their tractor was intercepted by Police Head Constable and two other persons and they started assaulting Pradip on the count that as to why he has played tape recorder in the tractor.

It was alleged that he was severely beaten as a result of which Pradip expired on the spot.

Advocate S.R. Kedar appeared for the petitioner whereas APP A.M. Phule appeared for State.

The Court noted that the injuries were inflicted when deceased was sitting on tractor, then he was taken inside the Out Post and, therefore, it amounted to custodial death.

“In custodial death the injuries should have been inflicted when the person was in any way in the custody of the police officer and, therefore, we take the inquiry report given by learned Magistrate as the strong piece of evidence to support the contention of the petitioner that death of Pradip was a custodial death, which is one of the heinous crimes.”, the Court observed.

The Court also noted that there was no reason for police to intercept the tractor driven by Pradip, even if they were having some objection regarding the sound they could have told the same to Pradip in a dignified manner.

The Court held that the petitioner is entitled to get compensation of Rs.15,29,600.

Thus the Court directed the amount to be deposited by the State within a period of two months.

The Court further directed that Rs.10,00,000 out of the said amount be invested in the name of petitioner, in any Nationalized Bank of her choice, for a period of five years.

Cause Title- Sunita v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.

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