Thursday, September 14, 2017

One of best interim order of NHRC on custodial death and torture

This case pertains to custodial death of UTP Balveer (25 years of age) on 17.5.2013 under the judicial custody of District Jail, Etah. This case was registered on intimation from the District Jail, Etah, UP. A case No. 18076/24/22/2013-AD was registered on the complaint of Secretary, International Human Rights Nigrani Parisad, New Delhi and was linked to above case. The complainant in this complaint has alleged torture by the police to the deceased. It is also alleged that the Police Officer Shailender and one Constable injected Petrol into the very sensitive parts of the body of the deceased and he was also placed over hot Tawa. Another Cases No. 18072/24/22/2013-AD, 19386/24/22/2013-AD and 19039/24/22/2013-AD were also registered on the same incident on the complaint of different NGOs. These cases were linked with the Case No. 18034/24/22/2013-JCD. The Commission took cognizance on 27.5.2013 on the incident. The Commission directed DM, Etah, SP, Etah and Superintendent, District Jail, Etah, to submit requisite reports. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the authorities have submitted a detailed report, Health Screening Report, Inquest Report, Treatment Record, Post-Mortem Report and CD of Post-Mortem and the Magisterial Enquiry Report. The detailed report dated 24.7.2013 submitted by the Superintendent, District Jail, Etah reveals that the deceased Balveer Singh S/o Har Prasad was admitted to the Jail on 25.4.2013. The Health Screening at the time of admission to the Jail indicated that besides multiple scabbed abrasion, burn injury were also seen around his anus. The deceased was treated in the Jail Hospital; District Hospital, Etah; SGPG Lucknow; and KGMC Lucknow, from 25.4.2013 to 17.5.2013, for multiple scabbed abrasions of different size, pain and inflammation around anus. He expired on 17.5.2013 while undergoing treatment. The Inquest Report reveals blunt injury on chest. Blood oozing from nose and mouth; and his right leg ankle had swelling. The Post-Mortem Report indicated no ante mortem injury, clotted blood present on both nostrils and mouth. The cause of death was opined to be, “Septicaemic shock due to chronic lung and kidney disease”. The deceased died in GM & Associate Hospital, Lucknow on 17.5.2013 and the doctors of GMAH opined that the deceased Balveer died of, “blunt injury chest, abdomen and wound in perineal region and cardio respiratory failure”. The Video CD of Post-Mortem has also shown (a) a cut mark injury on right cheek; (b) burn injury on the right knee; and (c) burn injuries on both buttock and anal region. The report from SHO/Inspector K.K. Mishra of PS Awagarh, District Etah dated 6.8.2017 reveals that the name of the deceased Balveer and five others came to light in case vide Crime No. 102/13 u/s 306 IPC, PS Awagarh (during investigation Section 302/201/120-B IPC were added to the case). He was arrested alongwith other accused on 24.4.2013. Balveer, died on 17.5.2013 during the treatment in the hospital. Hence, Charge Sheet No. 164 has been filed before the Court on 20.11.2013 against the other accused. The police report further reveals that accused Balveer S/o Har Prasad (deceased) was tortured by SI Shailender Kumar and Home Guard Nirmal Kumar and one other. Consequently, a Case No. 129/13 u/s 326/331 IPC, PS Awagarh was registered against the above named police officers on 16.5.2013. Further, SI Shailender Kumar was suspended by SP, Etah on 16.5.2013. It is further stated that Final Report No. 25 has been submitted before the appropriate Court of Law in this matter on 24.2.2014. The magisterial enquiry was conducted by CJM, Etah, UP. The Enquiry Magistrate examined the relevant records, statements of witnesses and relatives of the deceased Balveer. Mother, father and wife of the deceased stated before the Enquiry Magistrate that Balveer was a T.B. patient before admission in the Jail. He was taking medicines from Agra for the disease. One day he fell down from a tractor. He died due to illness. Further, the sister-in-law of the deceased has alleged that Balveer died due to police beating. She has alleged that Mr. Pandey, one ‘Daroga’ had beaten Balveer. The Jail doctor has stated before the Enquiry Magistrate that there were two injuries on the buttock of Balveer (one 7x2 cms and second 1.5x2 cms) and these injuries were 2-3 days old. There were burn injuries on the anal region of the deceased. The Enquiry Magistrate concluded that no foul play was suspected in the death of the deceased. He died a natural death of Septicaemic shock due to chronic lung and kidney disease. The Commission perused the record and observed that as per Health Screening Report at the time of admission to the Jail, Balveer (the deceased) was having multiple scabbed abrasion and burn injuries around anus. The Post-Mortem Examination Report though stated that there were no ante mortem injury, but, it has indicated that there was clotted blood on the nose and mouth of the deceased. Further, the Jail doctor also stated that the deceased had injuries at the time of admission to the Jail which were 2-3 days old. This creates suspicion that the deceased sustained these injuries in the police custody. In this regard the police inquired the matter and a case vide Crime No. 129/13 u/s 326/331 IPC, PS Awagarh was registered against SI Shailender Kumar, Home Guard Nirmal Kumar and one other Home Guard. However, FR No. 25 dated 24.2.2014 has been filed before the Court. The Commission further observed that as per the family members of the deceased, he was suffering from T.B. before admission to the Jail but from record it is clear that no treatment for tuberculosis was given to him during his jail term. Further, as per the doctors of KGMC, Lucknow, the cause of death of the deceased Balveer was opined to be “blunt injury chest, abdomen and wound in perineal region and cardio respiratory failure”. Whereas the Post-Mortem Examination Report reveals no ante mortem injury on the body of the deceased. Further, the video CD of Post-Mortem Examination of the deceased reveals burn injury on the right knee, both buttock and perineal region. The right cheek was having a cut mark injury. Due to these stark inconsistencies, the Commission is of the view that cause of death given in the Post-Mortem Examination Report is not reliable. Further, the treatment records of the deceased corroborated the allegation of torture before admission in the Jail and there is strong possibility that the deceased was kept in the illegal confinement before he was arrested by the police on 24.4.2014 and the torture prima facie appears to have been inflicted upon him during his illegal confinement. In a grave case like murder for which the deceased was arrested, the police did not seek or get police remand. This indicates that the deceased had been kept in illegal confinement by the police and had already been interrogated. Further, in view of the seriousness of the injuries inflicted on him in custody, police did not want to take him in custody. The extent and nature of injuries are such that it strongly suggests that the deceased was tortured over a few days. Since this is a case of custodial death, therefore, the file be placed before the Division Bench for consideration.

#NHRC #custodialdeath #torture #endtorture #custodialtorture #pvchr

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