Nearly two decades after her husband died due to custodial torture in Jamnagar district,a woman recently got Rs 2 lakh as compensation from the state government.
A petition in this connection had been pending before the Gujarat High Court,which was disposed of after the government deposited the compensation money with the court registry.
According to the details of the case,in 1990,the BJP and the VHP had given a bandh call to protest against the arrest of their leader L K Advani and villagers of Jam Jodhpur in Jamnagar district had gone in for a complete shutdown.
Senior high court counsel Girish Patel,who appeared before the court on behalf of the widow of the victim,said: Subsequent to the imposition of curfew,the police had indiscriminately arrested 100 people who were subjected to custodial torture. One of the arrested persons,Prabhudas Vaishnani,had died after he was released on bail.
Patel said that following a mass agitation against the death of Vaishnani,the government appointed a commission of enquiry under the chairmanship of Retired Principal Judge of Small Causes Court,B B Desai. The government had immediately given Rs 50,000 as compensation to the widow of the deceased. However,Vaishnanis widow moved a petition in the High Court in 1994,demanding a compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
Later,in its report,the commission concluded that the police had abused its power and subjected the people to torture.
Patel added: The matter had been pending before the court since then. Justice C K Buch,who after finding that the government has not filed even a reply till 2009,passed an order that the government must either decide to pay
Rs 2 lakh as compensation or be ready to face the consequences.
Finally,when the matter came up for further hearing before Justice R R Tripathi,the government produced an order for the payment of Rs 1.50 lakh to the petitioner,he added.
While passing the order,the HC observed that the government has strict absolute liability to compensate the victim of police atrocities and cannot escape from its liability by shifting it to the police, Patel said.