The Delhi High Court has awarded a compensation of over Rs 6 lakh to the widow of a man tortured to death in Tihar Jail, three days after he was arrested. He was charged of “causing nuisance by consuming liquor in public”.
Justice S. Muralidhar on Friday granted the compensation to Saroj Rani, the widow of Vinod Kumar, who died on June 12, 2007.
“When such deaths occur, it is not only to the public at large that those holding custody are responsible, they are responsible also to the courts under whose orders they hold such custody,” the court said.
The court told the Delhi government to deposit Rs 6.4 lakh for Kumar's widow as fixed deposit in a nationalised bank. Kumar (25) was a sewage cleaner.
“It was an admitted fact that Kumar was an alcoholic. That arduous, deplorable and undignified work as a sewage cleaner perhaps explains why Kumar had to take to drinking. It is not uncommon to find those working with sewage and with corpses in mortuaries to take to (liquor) to be able to cope with the repulsive and revolting nature of their work,” the court observed.
Pulling up the government for not probing Kumar’s death, the court said: “It was for Tihar Jail authorities to have conducted an inquiry to find out who was responsible for causing the numerous injuries to which Kumar was subject while he was in judicial custody.”
“A clear case of violation of the fundamental right has been made out,” said the judge.