Gujarat HC awards compensation for death in police lock-up
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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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