In a significant judgment addressing police misconduct, the Jharkhand High Court has ordered the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to Anil Kumar Singh, a victim of police brutality. The court also directed that the amount be recovered from the police officials responsible for the wrongful detention and torture of Singh.

Case Background

The case, WP(Cr.) No. 509 of 2022, was heard by Justice Ananda Sen. Anil Kumar Singh, represented by advocates Twinkle Rani and Shailesh Poddar, filed a petition against the State of Jharkhand, the Superintendent of Police, Latehar, and Garu Police Station, Latehar.

The incident occurred when police officials from Garu Police Station, Latehar, wrongfully detained Singh and subjected him to severe torture for three days. It was later discovered that Singh was not the person they intended to take into custody, leading to his release.

Key Legal Issues and Court’s Decision

1. Compensation for Police Brutality:

The court found the initial compensation of Rs 50,000 sanctioned by the state to be inadequate. Justice Sen observed, “This sort of act on the part of the respondents demands more compensation. The police officials in most arbitrary manner had taken law into their hands and had tortured a poor citizen of this Country without there being any material against him”. Consequently, the court enhanced the compensation to Rs 5 lakh.

2. Recovery of Compensation from Erring Officials:

In a notable directive, the court ordered that the compensation amount be recovered from the police officials responsible for Singh’s wrongful detention and torture. The recovery is to be made within two months from the date of payment.

3. Timeframe for Compensation Payment:

The court instructed the state to pay the compensation “immediately, preferably within a period of two weeks”.

4. Accountability Measures:

Justice Sen ordered that a copy of the judgment be sent to the office of the Accountant General, Jharkhand, and the Director General of Police (DGP), State of Jharkhand, for necessary action. The DGP is required to inform the Registrar General of the High Court about compliance with the order.

Important Observations by the Court

Justice Ananda Sen made several crucial observations highlighting the gravity of the case:

1. “It is the case where the police had illegally taken into custody this petitioner and taken him to police station and mercilessly assaulted him and kept him confined for three days and thereafter they realized that this petitioner is not the person, who was to be taken into custody, thereafter they released him”.

2. This fact is admitted by the State. It is the case of the State that because of the act, the police officials have also been proceeded against”.

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3. “Since it is an admitted case that this petitioner was wrongly taken into custody and was tortured, the amount will be recovered from the police officials, who had taken the petitioner into custody and tortured him”.

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