High court awards Rs 23 lakh relief to murdered Patiala doc’s kin

  • Surender Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2014 15:49 IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to give Rs 23 lakh as compensation to the family and widow of a doctor who was killed by a home guard with his official rifle.

The court judgment came in a 1997 case wherein a BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) doctor, Parkash Singh Dhaliwal, was fired at by home guard Nasib Singh on August 15, 1997, following personal enmity.

The doctor succumbed to the bullet injuries and soon after the incident, the home guard committed suicide with the same rifle. The cause of the enmity was not known. The bench of justice Ritu Bahari has ordered the government to award compensation of Rs 23.25 lakh within a period of four months of the order of the court.

Government’s defence

The Punjab government had refused to compensate the petitioner, contending it was not liable to pay any compensation because the home guard organisation was a voluntary organisation and the accused was not a regular employee of the department as his appointment was on a voluntary basis.The government had submitted that home guard volunteers were called for duties during external or internal emergency or during natural calamities, which may last for any period of time.

However, the government had admitted that an FIR was registered and later cancelled as the accused had committed suicide.

The government had also submitted that the accused was not performing official duties assigned to him and the misuse of fire arms was in his private capacity. It had added that the home guard had fired on account of enmity and not due to negligence.

Petitioner’s point

Kuldip Sanwal, the counsel for the petitioner, had argued that the home guard was given the official rifle which was used in the crime.

“The compensation is being denied on the grounds that the husband of the petitioner was killed, neither by terrorists nor by security officers. He was killed in revenge and enmity...,” the government had contended but the court observed that the fact that Singh used his official rifle to kill the victim was suffice to compensate the victim.

The case

Dhaliwal was a BAMS doctor employed at the government dispensary in Dann Singh Wala village, Bathinda. He was sitting at the nursing home run by his wife Kirandeep Kaur in Patiala district when Nasib went there and fired at him. The doctor, who was rushed to a hospital, was declared brought dead. The accused ended his life with the rifle.

Kirandeep, along with her two minor daughters and mother-in-law, had moved the high court, seeking compensation of Rs 25 lakh from the government in 1998.

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