Madras HC orders return of custodial death victim's body to family

According to the order, the collector must hand over the body to the family members and give two hours to the family to perform rituals, if any.
Madras HC
Madras HC(File Photo | EPS)

VILLUPURAM: The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered Villupuram district collector to hand over the body of K Raja, who allegedly died following custodial torture, before 6pm on Thursday, in a petition filed by Anju, wife of the deceased.

According to the order, the collector must hand over the body to the family members and give two hours to the family to perform rituals, if any. It further directed the collector and superintendent of police to allow the burial without the presence of police personnel to honour the dignity of the deceased and family.

On April 10, Raja (44), a resident of GRP street, who was working in a hotel allegedly died at his house, a few minutes after returning from police custody. His body was exhumed for a re-postmortem as demanded by the family as they had claimed custodial torture.

The body was exhumed on May 22 following a court order that directed the collector to return the body within 24 hours of exhumation. But the body was not returned due to legal reasons as claimed by the administration.

On Wednesday, human rights organisations and political parties demanded relief for the family and action against the police for torture. According to P V Ramesh, activist and organiser of the meeting, the members passed a few resolutions regarding the issue.

“On behalf of the political parties and organisations in Villupuram, we condemn the fact that Raja, who died due to torture by the police of Villupuram taluk station, was not handed over to his family after the postmortem. Based on the inquiry conducted by Villupuram judicial arbitrator Radhika into the incident, taluk police inspector Arumugam, SI Sivagurunathan and head constable Munusamy should be dismissed,” were the resolutions passed in the meeting.

They have also demanded a CBCID inquiry in the case. “The three accused cops who were responsible for Raja’s death must be booked for murder and a case should be registered under section 302. A compensation of `25 lakh should be given to the affected family members. The affected family should be given government jobs on compassionate grounds,” they added.

K Raja’s body was exhumed following court order

The body was exhumed on May 22 following a court order that directed the collector to return the body within 24 hours of exhumation. But the body was not returned due to legal reasons as claimed by the administration.

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