The state government and former assistant police commissioner Nandkumar Chougule will have to pay Rs 10,000 each for failing to file reply to a petition even after three years.
The division bench of Justices J.N. Patel and Amjad Sayed on Saturday directed the government and Chougule to pay the fine following petition by Armugham Munnaswami Kounder, who was falsely implicated for raping and murdering a minor in 1995.
A resident of Tamil Nadu (40), he spent nearly 11-and-half-years in jail before finally being acquitted by the high court in 2006.
He had filed a petition seeking compensation of Rs 50 lakh and also seeking suspension of Chougule who was then senior inspector of the Oshiwara police station where the alleged offence took place.
In October 2006, when the HC admitted his petition it asked the government and Chougule to file their replies, which has not been done till date.
Kounder, who was working as a rag picker, was arrested in 1995 for allegedly raping a minor and then killing her. When he was arrested he was not explained why he was being arrested and he does not even follow Hindi properly, said his advocate Asim Sarode.
Sarode also alleged that police mercilessly beat him and extracted his confession, based on which he was convicted by a sessions court in May 2001.
The entire episode came to light after Abdul Kadir, an inspector committed suicide in 2001. He had reportedly written in his suicide note that his senior officers had falsely implicated innocent people in some cases, one of them being Kounder, and he couldn’t take the pressure any more.
Sarode said, a committee headed by retired judge Dholakia was set up to probe into the allegations made by Kadir. However, the report was not made public.
In 2006, when Justice H.L. Gokhale (now retired) visited Yerawada Central Prison, he asked Sarode to challenge Kounder’s conviction in HC.
Finally, on October 14, Kounder was acquitted by the HC and he was released on October 16.
Presently, Kounder is working as a service staff of the Chaitanya Mental Health Care in Pune and trying to rebuild his life.