RASHEDA KHATUN Vs. STATE OF TRIPURA
HIGH COURT TRIPURA
STATE OF TRIPURA
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(1.)In this writ petition, a prayer has been made to call upon the State to pay compensation for the death of Jamal Hossain who died due to custodial torture in police lockup during the intervening night between 14/9/2021 and 15/9/2021. The writ petitioners are the wife, mother and children of the deceased who have made the following prayers:
"(i) Issue Rule upon the respondents to show cause as to why, in the nature of mandamus and /or Order or direction shall not be issued whereby entrusting the investigation of Sonamura P.S Case No.2021 SNM 092, U/s-304/34 of IPC to CID Tripura, for carrying out the investigation under the supervision of the Hon'ble High Court of Tripura;
(ii) Issue Rule upon the Respondents to show cause as to why Writ in the nature of mandamus and/or Order or direction shall not be issued whereby directing judicial inquiry by sitting District Judge of Tripura to enquire into the circumstances, leading to the custodial death of Jamal Hossain in police custody on 15/9/2021 and fix up the responsibility for such custodial death;
(iii) Issue Rule upon the Respondents to show cause as to why writ in the nature of mandamus and/or Order or direction shall not be issued whereby directing the Respondents to pay compensation of an amount of Rs.50.00 lakhs to the Petitioners for the death of Jamal Hossain in Police Custody of Sonamura Police Station.
(iv) Issue Rule upon the Respondents to show cause as to why Writ in the nature of mandamus and/or Order or direction shall not be issued whereby direct the I.O of Sonamura P.S Case No.92/2021, to add Sec. -302 in Sonamura P.S Case No.92/2021, dtd. 15/9/2021, U/s 304/34 of IPC.
(v) Pass an interim order directing the Respondents to pay at least Rs-5 lakhs as interim compensation to the Petitioners.
(vi) Make the rules absolute,
(vii) Call for records,
Pass any further order/orders as this Hon'ble High Court considered fit and proper."
(2.)The facts taken from the writ petition are as under: 27 years old Jamal Hossain alias Kala who was serving as a Cleaner in Dubai came home in the month of September, 2021 to enjoy his vacation with his family consisting of his mother, wife and children. He was scheduled to return to Dubai on 22/9/2021 for which he already bought a return ticket from Indigo Airlines. On14/9/2021 at about 11.30 pm a police team consisting of 6/7 police personal led by Sri Tapan Debnath entered into the house of the petitioners and enquired as to whether Jamal Hossain was at home. As soon as Jamal came out of his room, the police team caught hold of him and started beating him. Before leaving along with Jamal Hossain, one of the members of the police team remarked that everybody would see the dead body of Jamal Hossain on the following day. On 15/9/2021 at about7.30 am Md. Aktar Hossain and Mst. Ajufa Khatun came to the police station to see their brother. Police did not allow them to meet their brother. At around 9.30 a.m. they were informed that their brother Jamal Hossain died in the lockup. Petitioners alleged that when the police team was assaulting Jamal Hossain at the time of his arrest, his wife and mother begged of them to refrain from beating him. But they did not pay heed to their request. It has been alleged that as a result of their torture, Jamal Hossain who was completely fit before his arrest, died in police lockup within few hours of his arrest. Wife of the deceased lodged a written FIR with the Officer-in-charge of Sonamura P.S which was registered as Sonamura P.S. Case No.2021 SNM 092 under Sec. 304 read with Sec. 34 IPC. According to petitioners, Jamal Hossain died due to severe custodial torture by police for which they claimed compensation of a sum of Rs.50,00,000.00(rupees fifty lakhs) and appropriate action against the persons who were responsible for the death of Jamal Hossain.
(3.)The State respondents filed counter affidavit on 17/12/2021 along with the enclosures. In the counter affidavit, it has been asserted that a police team led by Tapan Debnath, Asstt. Sub-Inspector of Police of Sonamura police station went to the house of Jamal Hossain during the intervening night between 14/9/2021 and 15/9/2021 at about 11.56 pm to arrest Jamal Hossain in execution of arrest warrant which was issued against him in Special NDPS Case No.18/2016 under Sec. 22(c) of the NDPS Act pending before the Special Judge, Court No.3 at Agartala and another arrest warrant which was issued in Case No.PRC(W)(D) 392 of 2009 under Sec. 392 IPC pending in the Court of SDJM, Bishalgarh. Feeling the presence of police at his home, Jamal Hossain tried to escape through the rough terrain in the backyard of his house. While running away, he fell and he was caught by the police team. It has been asserted in the counter affidavit that immediately after arrest he was taken to Sonamura Community Health Centre for medical examination. The accused did not complain of any illness at that time. The doctors who examined him also found him fit. Accordingly, he was brought to the police station and kept in the police lockup in Sonamura police station. At around 02:04 hours Jamal complained of chest pain. He was again taken to Sonamura Community Health Centre where he was examined by Dr. Prabal Das. The deceased was advised ECG for which he was taken to Melaghar Sub-Divisional Hospital. The attending doctor at Melaghar Sub-Divisional Hospital examined him and after prescribing some medicines, he released Jamal Hossain from hospital. He was then brought back to the lockup of Sonamura Police Station at around 0416 hours. Subsequently at around 7.30 pm on 15/9/2021 when the Sentry called him to wake him up, he did not respond. The Medical Officer was called who declared him dead. Immediately thereafter a Suo Motu UD case was registered at the police station vide Sonamura P.S UD Case No.15 of 2021 under Sec. 174 Cr. P. C to ascertain the actual cause of death. The post-mortem of the deceased was conducted and the doctors opined that he died of "acute coronary artery disease". It has been asserted by the State respondents that the CC TV footage of the police lockup in which the deceased was kept at the material time would reveal that no torture was committed to the deceased. According to the State respondents, he suffered some simple injuries while he was trying to evade police arrest and he was never assaulted by any member of the police team.
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