Compensation of 20,000 rupees to an illegally locked up man

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the state to pay compensation of 20,000 rupees to a man who was illegally detained at a police station for five days, despite a magistrate’s order to take him into custody on sight.

The court observed that a mere declaration that the authorities violated constitutional and legal provisions is of no consequence to an injured person. He also said the courts are empowered to award compensation to remedy such grievances.

A bench of Judge NJ Jamdar and Judge SS Shinde said in their order that the unlawful detention cannot be ruled out as an aberration. “It is true that pecuniary compensation cannot, in all cases, repair the damage suffered by the citizen. However, this remains the most practical and effective measure to redress the wrong, ”reads the order drafted by Judge Jamdar.

The man, Mohammed Usman Shaikh, was arrested in a cell phone theft case. After two days in police custody, a magistrate rejected the Deonar police station’s request to extend his custody and ordered his imprisonment. The police station, however, detained him for an additional five days before handing him over to Arthur Road Prison. Shaikh’s wife, through lawyer Adil Khatri, had approached the HC with a habeas corpus request to release him from illegal detention as well as to order compensation.

In his affidavit, the chief inspector of the police station informed the court that Shaikh could not be returned to prison without a negative Covid test, but RT-PCR tests were not available in public hospitals for two days on Saturday. and Sunday. He had also shown the reason why government vehicles were not available to transport him as some were broken down and others were on nakabandi duty. The judiciary refused to accept these explanations, finding them “weak”.

The HC declared that the principle of “public law damages” is put forward and that a remedy is called upon to preserve the rule of law. The court did not direct the action against the police officers concerned, but said in its order that it would be open to the state to investigate and determine their responsibility and, if necessary, take action.

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Posted on: Wednesday November 17th, 2021 11:16 PM IST


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