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HC directs DSLSA to process application of a widow seeking compensation, husband died in judicial custody

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ILNS: The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi State Legal Service Authority (DSLSA) to process the application for compensation of a widow whose husband died in Judicial custody within two weeks. 

She has filed an application seeking one crore as compensation. However, DSLSA submitted before the HC that scheme allows a minimum compensation of Rs 3 lakhs and a maximum of Rs. 10 lakhs. 

A Single Judge bench of  Justice Prathiba M. Singh notes, “this Court is of the opinion that the DSLSA ought to process the Petitioner’s application, and prayer for compensation under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2018.”

The petition filed by widow of the deceased who left behind his wife and two minor daughters who are six years and five months of age, respectively, mentions that the deceased was allegedly arrested for the theft of the vehicle on November 11, 2020. Consequently, the deceased was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate, wherein it was placed on record by the Ld. Magistrate that the deceased physical condition seemed scathing, so much so that it he was not even in a position to stand properly. However, he was remanded to judicial custody and the following day, he passed away in custody. 

The contention of the petitioner was that the deceased was subjected to cruelty and torture by the police due to which it succumbed to injuries and grave pain but on the contrary it was recorded in the remand order that the deceased was beaten up by the police.

The Court interrogated the DSLSA about the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme, 2018, and why the petitioner has been denied the compensation, the hearing even marked the presence of the Secretary of DSLSA, Mr. Kawaljeet Arora who is being represented by Advocate Sarfaraz Khan, contended that in order to process the compensation as per the scheme, the scheme allows a minimum compensation of Rs 3 lakhs and a maximum of Rs. 10 lakhs. 

Subsequently, the Counsel for the petitioner argued raising the various grievances on behalf of the petitioner which included that documents relating to the deceased death in judicial custody for instance, the MLC, post mortem report etcetra have not been supplied to the petitioner, hence the requisite documents could not be placed on record as per the scheme of DSLSA. The Counsel for the petitioner also raised a concern that under the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme must not affect the Petitioner’s right to further claim in accordance with law that might be available perhaps. The Court acknowledged the concerns and grievances of the petitioner and ensured that the same would not hamper the petitioner, lest the petitioner wishes to avail other plausible remedies as per law.

The role of National Human Rights Commission was also put to question in the case, the counsel for the Petitioner Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal stated that the NHRC neglected to consider the Petitioner’s case for compensation. The negligent behaviour of NHRC was to be taken to be contrary to the scheme of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The Court perused the said contentions; the submissions of Mr. Anuj Aggarwal who was on behalf of the GNCTD was also placed on record, who mentioned that there were a couple of remedies that can availed that for grant of compensation in case of death in judicial custody, whether the recourse might be taken by availing it through Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme 2018, or by approaching the National Human Rights Commission or as also by approaching this Court by filing a Writ Petition.

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The Court while ascertaining and weighing all the grievances of the petitioner passed an order stating that the DSLSA ought to process the application for compensation under the above mentioned scheme expeditiously, and allowed the Writ Petition to be treated as the application/representation by the Petition who is the widow and “dependent” of the deceased, under the scheme.

The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on May 25.

The Petitioner Ruvee Parveen represented by Advocates for- Aman Rehaan Khan & Siddharth Agrawal. 

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