Staff Reporter

Attack on inmates of Madurai Central Prison by warders

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday reserved its orders on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking compensation for the inmates of the Madurai Central Prison who were allegedly attacked by the warders on June 9, 2005.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice P. Murgesen, will pronounce the judgement on the issue.

According to the litigant, A. Mahaboob Batcha, a social activist, one of the prisoners entered into a quarrel with a prison official on June 9, last year.

On the same day, a group of warders, both in uniform as well as in civilian clothes, indiscriminately attacked all the inmates lodged in the quarantine meant for under trial prisoners.

The victims were roughed up with batons, iron pipes and rods; the petitioner said and added that some of the injured were treated in the prison hospital, while a few others were referred to the Government Rajaji Hospital here.

Claiming that the alleged brutal assault was without authority, he urged the Court to order due compensation for the sufferers.

Enquiry by PDJ

Admitting the PIL, the Bench on July 27, 2005, directed the then Principal District and Sessions Judge (PDJ) here to conduct an enquiry on the issue. The orders were complied with and the PDJ submitted his report during August 2005, after recording the statements of the victims and the jail authorities.

Disciplinary action

Subsequently, the then Deputy Secretary, Home Department and the Superintendent of the prison, filed separate counter affidavits stating that they had initiated disciplinary action against four warders for beating the prisoners. They said that all the injured persons were given due medical attention and a case was also registered against the prisoner, who was the root cause for the unfortunate incident.

As per rule 144 of The Tamil Nadu Prison Manual Volume II, a minimum force can be used to control the prisoners and hence there was no question of paying any compensation, the Deputy Secretary said.

However, the petitioner's counsel, T. Lajapathi Roy, contended that the State could not wash its hands off the issue and instead they should be made to monetarily compensate all the injured prisoners.