Gujarat HC awards compensation for death in police lock-up

Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 00:01

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has awarded
compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to the wife of a retired army
officer who died after being beaten up in police lock-up in
Valsad district in 2000.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Pratap Save succumbed to
injuries in April 2000 at Hinduja hospital in Mumbai after he
was beaten up by the then Deputy Superintendent of Police of
Valsad district N K Amin who is presently in jail in
connection with the Sohrabuddin Shiekh fake encounter case.
The order awarding compensation to Save`s wife was passed
by Justice M R Shah last week, who asked state government to
deposit the amount within six weeks with High Court judiciary.

"Prima facie, it appears that because of custodial
violence and injuries, Lt Col (Retd), Pratap Raghunath Save
died," court said in its order, adding Save`s wife, who is a
petitioner along with her younger son, are entitled to
compensation.

The court also dismissed state government`s contention
that no compensation should be awarded for the alleged acts of
Amin and other police officers.

"State is primarily liable for any act of its officers
and when they are officers of state... the state is liable to
pay compensation to the petitioners," the court said.

"It appears to the court that if a sum of Rs 2.5 lakh is
awarded to the petitioners by way of token compensation,
irrespective of other pending proceedings and without
prejudice to the other disciplinary proceedings, civil and
criminal proceedings, the ends of justice would be met," the
court stated in the order.
The Court also dismissed contentions by Amin that trial
has not concluded in the case and he and others cannot be held
guilty.

"It is to be noted that on conducting inquiry under
section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, learned JMFC,
Umergaon has held that there is a prima facie case made out
against the respondent Nos 4 (Amin) and 5 (PI Zala)for the
offence punishable under sections 304 and 114 of Indian Penal
Code," the court observed in the order.

Colonel Save was heading Kinara Bachao Sangharsh Samiti
formed in March 1999 to guide fisher-folk, farmers and other
affected people in their struggle against Maroli Port Project.

At around mid-night on April 8, 2000, Amin and other cops
picked up Save from his house and beat him in the lock-up. He
subsequently died at a Mumbai hospital.

In 2004, Save`s wife Sunita and younger son Nikhilesh
had filed petition in Gujarat High Court seeking status of
probe into their FIR against Amin and others and also sought
compensation against violation of their fundamental rights.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 00:01

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