A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday directed the State government to pay the former ISRO scientist, S. Nambinarayanan, an interim compensation of Rs.10 lakh, as ordered by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), for keeping him in illegal police custody in connection with a 1994 espionage case.

The Bench, comprising Justices C.N. Ramachandran Nair and C.K. Abdul Rehim, issued the directive after setting aside a single judge’s order revoking the Commission’s directive on the interim compensation.

The court also ordered the government to pay him the compensation in three months. The court, however, vacated the NHRC’s directive to the government to take action against the police officers responsible for violating the human rights of Mr. Nambinarayanan.

The Bench ordered that the NHRC could consider the issue of taking action against the police officers after giving opportunities to the officers concerned when it finally decided the compensation petition of Mr. Nambinarayanan.

The judges passed the orders on an appeal filed by the former Director of Advanced Technology and Planning, ISRO. A single judge of the High Court quashed the 2001 order of the NHRC on the ground that Mr. Nambinarayanan had filed his petition before the Commission after the expiry of the time limit fixed by the NHRC rules. Alleged espionage activities at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) surfaced with the arrest of Maldivian national Mariam Rasheeda in October 1994. Mr. Narayanan, in his appeal against the single judge’s verdict, pointed out that he was arrested and kept in custody for two months. The other accused were another former senior scientist of the ISRO and two Bangalore-based businessmen, apart from Mariam Rasheeda and another Maldivian woman, Fousia Hassan.