ANIL YADAV Vs. STATE OF BIHAR AND BACHCHO LAL DAS SUPERINTENDENT CENTRAL JAIL BHAGAL PUR BIHAR
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PATNA)
STATE OF BIHAR
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(1.) These Misc. Petitions are an off-shoot of the blindings of undertrial prisoners at Bhagalpur in the State of Bihar. Truth has a strange habit of revealing itself and in spite of the veil of secrecy behind which the blindings of those prisoners lay concealed or suppressed, this Court and the country awoke one day to the incredible fact that, in Bhagalpur, undertrial prisoners were subjected to the most inhuman torture imaginable: their eyes were pierced with needles and acid poured into them. Whether these barbarous acts were committed by members of the public after the prisoners were caught or by the police after they were arrested, is not a matter directly in issue before us. The greater probability is that these acts may have been committed mostly by the police. But this much is certain, that six prisoners were thus blinded between Oct., 1979 and May 1980 and twelve between June 11 and July 25, 1980. The petitioner Bachcho Lal Das, who has filed these Misc. Petitions, had assumed charge as the Superintendent of the Bhagalpur Central Jail on Aprl. 19, 1979.
(2.) On Oct., 26, 1979 a prisoner by the name of Arjun Goswami was sent to the Bhagalpur Central Jail. On Nov., 20, 1979 he addressed an application to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhagalpur, asking that an inquiry be held into the torture inflicted upon him, especially the blinding of his eyes. That application was forwarded by the petitioner to the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Later, eleven prisoners made similar complaints which were forwarded by the petitioner to the learned Sessions judge, Bhagalpur, on July 30, 1980. The complaints made by these prisoners unquestionably demanded the most prompt and careful attention. But, instead of directing a full and proper inquiry into the allegations made by the undertrial prisoners, the learned Sessions Judge on Aug. 5, 1980, sent a cold and indifferent reply to the petitioner's covering letter, saying that "there is no provision in the Cr. P. C. to provide a lawyer to any person for prosecuting a criminal case as a complaint" and that the petitions of the prisoners were forwarded to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhagalpur, "for needful in accordance with law".
(3.) On Oct., 9, 1980, ten blinded prisoners filed a Habeas Corpus petition in this Court (Criminal Writ Petition No. 5352 of 1980) asking that : (1) they should be produced in the Court, (2) they should be examined by a Medical Board, (3) they should be paid compensation for the damage done to their eyes and that (4) the police officers guilty of committing atrocities upon them should be suitably punished. On Oct. 10, 1980 a Bench of this Court consisting of one of us, (the Chief Justice), and Justice A. D. Koshal passed the following order in that petition :
"We direct that the petitioners shall be examined by the Jail Doctor forthwith, and a report shall be submitted to this Court expeditiously in regard to the allegation in the petition that their eyes have been damaged by certain police officers by putting acid therein. The report shall be submitted within four weeks from today. The w. p. be listed for hearing after the report is received."
By his letter dated Oct. 31, 1980 the petitioner, who is respondent 2 in the Habeas Corpus petition, forwarded to this Court the report of the Jail Doctor on the condition of the eyes of the prisoners. The remaining 2 prisoners were already released and could not therefore be examined. The report of the Jail Doctor in regard to one of the prisoners, Anil Yadav is representative of the condition of all the eight of them and may be extracted here :
"(1) Presence of old burn sear around. both the eyelids of both the eyes and on left cheek.
(2) Collapse of both the eve balls.
(3) Perception of light and projection of rays absent, in both the eyes.
(4) Eye sight of both the eyes lost.
The cause is perforation of eye balls by bum with some corrosive substance and puncture by some sharp and pointed weapon.
From the records of Jail Hospital it is known that he was admitted in Jail Hospital on 8-7-1980 for acid bum injury of both the eyes.";
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