J. Balaji

NHRC order to Punjab government

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission has ordered the Punjab government to provide a compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the family of an undertrial prisoner who died after consuming insecticide in Ludhiana Central Jail five years ago.

The Commission has ordered that compliance report and proof of payment of compensation be sent to it by the State government within eight weeks.

Negligence

The Commission, which went through the post-mortem, viscera and magisterial inquiry reports of the case, concluded that prima facie it was a custodial death and attributable to negligence by the watch and ward staff. Had the escort and guards kept a proper watch on the prisoner, he would not have consumed poison and the tragedy could have been averted.

“The negligence of the staff, thus, became a cause for loss of life and the State cannot evade its liability to compensate the family of the deceased,” it said.

Undertrial Amarjit Singh was sent to court from jail for a hearing of his case on February 22, 2004.

When he returned to the jail, he was hale and hearty. After dinner, he suddenly became unwell.

He was sent to hospital where he died. The viscera report indicated that he had consumed insecticide either in the judicial lock-up or during the return journey from the court.