The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition challenging Maharasthra Human Rights Commission's directive to award Rs 45,000 as compensation to a victim of violence in police custody and recover the money from the accused police officials.
A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Mukundakam Sharma concurred with the findings of the Commission and the Bombay High Court that cops of Shahunagar Police Station in Mumbai had tortured Baban who had gone to lodge a complaint against one Abbas Ali who had stabbed him over a row.
Baban had alleged that on August 8, 2002, he was assaulted with a knife by Abbas Ali and even though he was taken to the police station by his widowed mother to lodge a complaint, the police refused to accept the complaint.
Instead, it was alleged that at the instance of Abbas, the cops had assaulted him badly in the police station and foisted a false case against him of assaulting Abbas Ali's son.
On a complaint, the state human rights commission had conducted an inquiry and came to the conclusion that the police had acted in a malafide manner and violated the human rights of Babban.
Accordingly, the Commission directed the state government to award Rs 45,000 to the victim and recover the amount from the three sub-inspectors-G G Navele, J P Sankpal and K R Kubal. The Bombay High Court dismissed the policemen's appeal, after which one of the policemen moved the apex court.
Upholding the punishment, the apex court said "there is sufficient material, which has been duly looked into by the Commission and the High Court, that the son of the respondent No 1(victim) had been physically tortured while in custody in violation of the norms relating to custody of persons arrested or detained in connection with any offence."
According to the apex court, police officer Jaywant P Sankpal, except for a bare denial of the allegation, had not placed any material to refute the complaint of torture and the allegation that the victim Babban was a bad character.
"It is clear that for whatever reasons, which could also include his antecedents, he was treated differently from Abbas Ali against whom he had come to make a complaint and ended up being the accused," Justice Kabir writing the judgement said.