The Jharkhand High Court in a case wherein a Tribal youth died due to the police firing has ordered a fresh investigation into this matter and has directed the State to pay the compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs to the deceased’s wife.

The Court was deciding a writ petition filed by the wife of the deceased against the State. It said that much time has already been lapsed.

A Single Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi observed, “Much time has already been lapsed and seeing the urgency in the matter, the Court directs that such fresh investigation must be concluded within a maximum period of three months from today and the police report be filed before the court concerned, thereafter the matter shall proceed in accordance with law. … The court further finds that the State of Jharkhand has already having a policy in this regard for compensation upon police atrocities and death in police lock-up, in spite of that only recommendation has been done by Annexure-D to the supplementary counter affidavit and the compensation has not been paid as yet.”

The Bench said that if a Constitutional Court comes to a conclusion that the investigation has been done in a perfunctory way and it is only an eyewash, the same is duty bound to rise to the occasion to pass an appropriate order.

Advocate Shailesh Poddar appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Government Advocate Manoj Kumar and Advocate Prashant Vidyarthi appeared on behalf of the State and Centre respectively.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner prayed for the direction to hand over the case to CBI or Special Branch of CID Officers for further investigation with regard to the death of her husband. In 2021, about 10-11 tribal men of a village went for hunting as a part of their annual tribal celebration and used a locally made gun for the same. Only a single shot could be fired and during that time, suddenly the security personnel started firing from the other side without giving any warning.

Some of the persons saved their lives by hiding behind trees and raised their hands by placing the gun on the ground and shouted that they were common people, not Maoist requesting not to shoot them. The deceased (petitioner’s husband) took out his t-shirt and pant, raised his hands and pleaded to prove that he was completely an innocent villager but the firing continued. Thereafter, he fell on the ground as soon as he was shot and died.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “In the case in hand, by way of Annexure-D to the counter affidavit, the CID has itself admitted that the said death has occurred due to the police firing. … Accordingly, this court set aside the closure report, arising out of Garu P.S. Case No. 11 of 2022 considering that in Annexure-D to the supplementary counter affidavit, it has been admitted that the death of the deceased has occurred due to police firing.”

The Court added that a fresh team of Investigators shall be constituted under a senior police official by the Director General of Police and Secretary, Home Department, Government of Jharkhand consisting of efficient personnel, well conversant with use of modern investigation technology and that no officer, who was part of the investigation team leading to the closure report shall be the part of the team conducted de novo investigation.

“In view of the above facts, reasons, discussions and analysis and also considering Annexure-D to the supplementary counter affidavit, wherein, it has been admitted that the death of the husband of the petitioner has occurred due to police firing, the respondents-State shall pay a sum of Rs. 5,00,000/- (rupees five lakhs) in favour of the petitioner within four weeks from the date of receipt / production of this order and this shall be implemented through the Home Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, Ranchi within the aforesaid period”, held the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition.

Cause Title- Jiramani Devi v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.

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