Custodial death: HC upholds compensation awarded by NHRC

Custodial death: HC upholds compensation awarded by NHRC
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The Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with an order of the National Human Rights Commission NHRC awarding Rs 5 lakh in compensation to the kin of a man who died while in police custody in 2010, noting that the explanation given by the police for his death was difficult to accept

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with an order of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) awarding Rs 5 lakh in compensation to the kin of a man who died while in police custody in 2010, noting that the explanation given by the police for his death was "difficult to accept".

Justice Vibhu Bakhru said there was no dispute that the man had died in police custody and it was based on this fact that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had awarded the compensation amount to the victim's kin.

The court said it was difficult to accept the police explanation that the man, Shahaji Azad, who died of asphyxia, had suffered from 'datura' poisoning and throttled himself.

The judge questioned with what the man had strangulated himself when he was in custody and said that initially the police had claimed that the man died after he fell in a toilet.

"This explanation, as to how the deceased had died, is difficult to accept. However, this court is refraining from dwelling into that issue any further, as it is not the scope of the present petition," the court said in its order earlier this month.

The petition was filed by the Delhi Police challenging the NHRC decision of May 3 awarding Rs 5 lakh compensation to kin of the Azad who was taken into custody on June 12, 2010 from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on account of unruly behaviour.

According to the police, the man had attacked co-passengers as well as a CRPF guard deployed at the airport and, therefore, he was taken into custody during the early hours of that day.

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