His family given a compensation of Rs. 1.50 lakhs earlier

Court says State at liberty to recover amount from guilty

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday awarded an additional compensation of Rs 3 lakhs to the family of Narayan Behera of Talcher who died in December 2003 while under police custody. The 26-year-old youth’s family had earlier got an interim compensation of Rs 1 lakh from the State Government following an HC order while another amount of Rs 50,000 was given to the family from the Chief Minister’s relief fund immediately after the death of Narayan.

Narayan was found hanging in a police lockup under Bikrampur police outpost of Angul district on December 31, 2003.

He was picked up by the police in connection with a theft case but was allegedly illegally detained for over three days in the lockup without being forwarded to court.

The division bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice Indrajit Mohanty disposing of a PIL observed that the State Government was responsible for the illegal detention and untimely death of the youth thereby infringing upon his personal liberty.

"The State Government is therefore liable to pay compensation to the victim’s family. The Government is at liberty to recover the entire compensation amount from the police officers responsible for the illegal detention of the youth," the bench said in its order.

The HC further said the amount should be deposited with the judicial registrar of the HC by October eight in the form of an account payee cheque in the name of Kastu Behera, the victim’s father.

The bench also expressed concern over the manner in which the police are violating rights of the people. It may be recalled here that the HC had awarded a compensation of Rs 8 lakhs to a tribal youth last month who was illegally detained in jail for over eight years even as the accused was acquitted of murder charges.