MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs 11.5 lakh to a Keralite as he was jailed illegally for 229 days in a case foisted by two police officials of Thoothukudi Narcotic Intelligence Bureau Crime Investigation Department (NIB CID).
The court also observed that if the false case was not transferred to Crime Branch of Crime Investigation (CB CID), the duo policemen, who were found guilty by a trial court, would have succeeded in convicting the 35-year-old victim.
In his petition, M Anumohan of Karunagapalli in Kollam district said when his brother was studying in a private college at Alankulam in Tirunelveli district on February 9, 2006, he went to visit him along with two others in a car.
When their vehicle reached Tenkasi, they were intercepted by Thoothukudi NIB CID Sub Inspector Rajamanickam alias J T Rajkumar, who arrested all the three.
Later the police demanded Rs 2 lakh bribe to set them free but as they refused, the SI Rajkumar along with Inspector Gandhi booked them under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act as if they had transported 24 kg ganja. Though two of his friends were released, the petitioner was lodged at Palayamkottai Central Prison, where he spent 229 days, he said. Following which, the High Court Bench had transferred the case to CB CID as sought by the petitioner. During investigations, the CB CID found that the two NIB CID officials had made up false evidences including the contraband and deliberately foisted the case.
It was proved before the Madurai Special Sessions Court for NDPS Act Cases and the trio were discharged from the case. So the entire episode was violative of Article 21 of Indian Constitution (Protection of life and personal liberty). Hence the court should direct the government to provide him Rs 50 lakh compensation, he prayed.
Justice K K Sasidharan said though the government admitted that the two police officials were guilty, they were permitted to retire peacefully in spite of pendency of the criminal proceedings. It contended that the police officials exceeded their limits and acted illegally, the government was not liable to pay compensation.
However, the state is vicariously liable for the tortious acts of its servants, who were responsible for pushing the petition into the situation, where the society considered him as a bad element, said the court. It is possible to assess the compensation mathematically, some amount of guess work is needed. While taking a total view of the matter and also previous cases handled, the court decided that the petitioner is entitled to get Rs 5,000 per day of his illegal contention, said the judge while directing the government to pay Rs 11.5 lakh with 9 per cent interest from the date of filing of this petition, that too within eight weeks.