CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has awarded `3 lakh compensation in a custodial death case, 10 years after the victim Dhaneswar Pradhan succumbed inside Nayagarh Jail.
Observing that the death of Pradhan was due to callousness on the part of jail authorities, a division bench of Chief Justice Amitava Ray and Justice B R Sarangi has directed the Government to pay the amount to his aged parents within four weeks.
Considering the fact that a decade has passed since the death, the bench instructed Government advocate to move the State machinery for early release of the compensation amount.
The directions came in response to a petition filed by rights activist Subash Mohapatra seeking grant of compensation for the custodial death. Pradhan was arrested in a case and lodged in Nayagarh jail. On the evening of October 6, 2004, Pradhan developed high fever. The fever did not subside and he eventually succumbed on October 8.
Following suspicions on the nature of death, a sub-divisional magistrate-level probe was ordered.
The SDM’s report had stated that there was negligence on the part of the pharmacist and jail medical officer in providing him proper medical care that led to his death.
The court observed that though the matter was brought to the knowledge of the doctor and pharmacist, they did not take the matter seriously and provide timely treatment. Though a detenu, the victim was constitutionally entitled to proper medical care. The State Government is liable for his death, it held.