The Madras High Court has directed the State to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the mother of a youth who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody. A division bench comprising Justices KN Basha and P Devadass, which on Monday ordered the compensation to be paid within six weeks, also transferred the investigation into the death of the 19-year-old boy to the CBI, which should complete the probe as expeditiously as possible.
The bench was disposing of a habeas corpus petition and writ petitions from M Ranjani, the mother, praying for a direction to the police to produce her son Vinoth and his lover Lakshmi in the court and set them at liberty.
According to petitioner, her son Vinoth fell in love with Lakshmi, belonging to another caste. They eloped twice. On the second occasion in January, 2011, the Thisaiyanvilai police in Tirunelveli district secured both Vinoth and Lakshmi. While Lakshmi was sent to their parents, the boy was sent to a Bortal school, after production before a magistrate.
The police claimed that the boy met with a road accident on way to the school and died on January 14, 2011. Two post-mortems were conducted and the reports contradicted with each other. Alleging that it was an honour killing, Ranjani filed writ petitions and the HCP.
Disposing them off, the bench observed that whether it was a murder or accidental death was a different issue. It was the undisputed fact that the boy died while he was in the custody of the police and, that too, due to the careless and lethargic attitude of the escort police personnel. ``In view of the admitted factor, we have no hesitation to hold that the victim’s family was entitled to claim compensation.....,’’ the bench observed and gave the directions.