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Custodial death-Rs. 3 lacs shall be paid by the State Government to the next kin of the deceased

Chandigarh (Gurpreet) On receipt of communication, dated 24.12.2010, from the Superintendent, Central Jail, Jalandhar (at Kapurthala), that convict Parminder Singh @ Pindri Palwinder Lal, son of, Darshan Singh, resident of Village Jandiala, Patti Dhuni Ki, District Amritsar, who was undergoing R.I. for ten years in case FIR No. 147 dated 14/07/2005 under NDPS Act, PS Phillaur. He was sent to Civil Hospital, Jalandhar as an emergent case on 24.12.2010 where he expired during the course of treatment on 24.10.2010.

This Punjab State Human Rights Commission took cognizance of this matter on 30.12.2010 and sent for the various reports. The reports received from the various authorities were examined by the Commission. In this case, Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Jalandhar stated in the inquest report that as per report of Chemical Examiner, Organophosphorus compound pesticides were detected in the contents of Exhibits II, III, IV and V and Medical Board who conducted the post-mortem examination of the dead body of deceased Parminder Singh opined that “death was caused due to Organophosphourus compound pesticides”. The Inquiry Officer concluded that Parminder Singh @ Pindri @ Palwinder Singh son of Darshan Singh has not died natural death and same is result of administration of poison either by himself or by somebody else.

The Commission meticulously examined the entire reports but failed to find any mention as to how the poisonous substance found in the viscera of the deceased had come into possession of the deceased convict. Under these circumstances, the Commission formed a prima-facie view that compensation ought to be granted to the next kin of the deceased. Thus, the Commission ordered that the notices under Section 16 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 be issued to the State and its functionaries, i.e. PSH, ADGP/ Prisons Punjab, Chandigarh and Superintendent Central Jail, Jalandhar(at Kapurthala), to put in their defence, if any, before the next date of hearing for proper appraisal and appreciation. The Superintendent, Central Jail, Jalandhar (at Kapurthala), has submitted detailed reply justifying that on 24.12.2010 the deceased got ill and the medical officer in the jail had given him Inj. Dexamathson IV and due to deteriorating condition of the deceased he immediately referred to the Civil Hospital, Jalandhar where he died during treatment.

It appears to the Commission that Organo phosphorus compound Pesticides was consumed by the convict in the jail and the jail officials failed to perform their duties diligently. The Board of Doctors, after considering the report of the Chemical Examiner, have recorded their opinion that the death had occurred due to Organophosphorus compound Pesticides which was ante mortem in nature and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. The negligence of the Jails Authorities is writ large, they were not vigilant. It was due to their lapse that the poisonous substance found its way in the Jail and into the hands of the deceased convict.

Thus, the reply sent by the then Superintendent, Central Jail, Jalandhar (Kapurthala), is rejected and we recommend that the sum of rupees three lacs shall be paid by the State Government to the next kin of the deceased as compensation, and disciplinary action against the then Superintendent, Central Jail, Jalandhar (at Kapurthala), be also taken regarding dereliction of duties.

The compliance report shall be sent to the Commission before the next date of hearing.

List it on 01/02/2022.

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