CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has on Thursday directed the TN additional home secretary to furnish all the materials relating to the custodial deaths of 109 persons in 2012-2013 to the TN State Legal Services Authority member-secretary, who shall, after examining whether the procedure under CrPC has been followed or not, submit a status report to the court.
The first Bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh issued the directive while passing further interim orders on a PIL from advocate K Kesavan of Anna Nagar West.
The PIL alleged that over 1,090 persons had died while in police and judicial custody from 2000 to February 13, 2013, the date of filing the PIL. He prayed for a judicial enquiry by District Judges concerned into the death of prisoners who died during 2012-13 and to pay a compensation of `5 lakh to each of the families.
In his counter, the Home Deputy Secretary submitted that there were 137 custodial deaths in 2012-13. `1 lakh each was paid as compensation to the families of three victims. Disciplinary proceedings begun in two cases and action dropped on over 20 cases. In the remaining 109 cases, the complete enquiry reports, including medical, were awaited from the Collectors in 74 cases; CB CID probe reports were awaited in two cases and 33 cases were under examination by the government.
The Bench said a perusal of the counter showed the shocking state of affairs. The matter related to deaths more than three years ago. When the Bench questioned the abysmal situation seen in the counter, the Government Pleader submitted that there could have been some cases of natural deaths. If it was so, those cases would have been closed, the Bench responded.