Decided on March 18,1997

DEV KALA Appellant

Cited Judgements :-



Lokeshwar Singh Panta, J. - (1.)Petitioner namely Smt. Dev Kala (widow), Kumari Dodi, Kumari Kolti (Minor daughters), Smt. Uttami k. Usha (mother), Shri Duni Chand and Shri Jeet Ram (brothers), of deceased Bhinder Singh have filed this writ petition claiming a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation on account of death of said Bhinder Singh in police custody by merciless beating by the police.
(2.)The relevant facts giving rise to the present writ petition are as follows: On 2-6-1993 there was a robbery in village Mashara Thawa Kothi Naggar. District Kullu and Manali Police registered case FIR No. 110 of 1993 dated 46-1993 under Sections 457/380. IPC. Chhaju Ram (respondent No.4) was the Station House Officer and A.S.I. Sohan Lal (respondent No.5) was the Additional Station House Officer attached to Manali Police Station. Both these police officials summoned. Bhinder Singh amongst others in connection with the investigation of the said FIR. He was arrested on 5-6-1993. Petitioners have alleged that Bhinder Singh was given merciless beatings at the police station on the intervening night of 5th and 6th June, 1993 and it appeared that he was beaten to death and body thrown in Beas river which was ultimately recovered near Pandoh, District Mandi 26th June, 1993 in an absolute decomposed state. When the whereabouts of Bhinder Singh were not known his father Tape Ram (since dead) made a report copy of which is placed on record as Annexure P-I. to the Superintendent of Police on 9-6-1993 requesting the latter to trace out his son and release him on bail. The Deputy Commissioner. Mandi wrote a letter to the Chief Engineer, Bhakhra Beas Management Board dated 21-6-1993 a copy whereof was sent to Tape Ram (Annexure P-2) stating therein that he has received information that a dead body of a boy was found fastened in gate No. 1 in Pandoh Dam and requested the Chief Engineer for reducing the flow of the water So that the body could be taken out. The dead body of Bhinder Singh was taken out from the Dam and handed over to petitioner Jeet Ram, brother of the deceased after conducting post-mortem on 26-6-1993 at 5.30 p.m. Jeet Ram also made a complaint regarding death of his brother in police custody copy of which is placed at Annexure P-5. It is further alleged that father of the deceased received a communication from the Superintendent of Police, Kullu dated 30-7-1993 making out an excuse that said Bhinder Singh had escaped from police custody and had committed suicide. It has further been alleged by the petitioners that the entire story that Bhinder Singh had escaped from the police custody and had committed suicide by drowning is untenable: In fact, according to the averments of the petitioners, the police officials tried to cover up the murder of Bhinder Singh and a false report had been prepared without any proper investigation into the cause of death. The petitioners have alleged that Bhinder Singh was severely beaten to death while in police, custody and since Bhinder Singh was in the custody of the police, it was the duty of the police authority to produce him in Court for seeking his remand. It is alleged that there has been violation of fundamental rights of the petitioners and the respondents have deprived Bhinder Singh of his life and personal liberties and further that the rights of the petitioners to be maintained and looked after by him. Petitioners have stressed that the respondents are bound to explain the circumstances under which Bhinder Singh who was taken in custody disappeared and the circumstances under which his body was located and identified at Pandoh without the same having even been located or even identified by his relatives. It has further been alleged that Bhinder Singh had been done to death by the police officials when he was taken into custody on 5th June, 1993 and the death had taken place while he was in police custody before he could be produced in the Court or released from the police custody. On the basis of these allegations petitioners have claimed Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation on account of the custodial death of Bhinder Singh.
(3.)A Division Bench of this Court sensing the seriousness of the allegations contained in the writ petition with the consent of the learned Counsel for the petitioners and learned Advocate General appointed the. Deputy Inspector General of Police (CID) to conduct the inquiry into the matter and directed the Inquiry Officer to hold an inquiry into the grievances of the petitioners and submit his report together with evidence collected during the inquiry for consideration of this Court within two months vide order dated 25-11-1994.

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