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Supreme Court upholds HC order to pay Rs 10 lakh to man for his son’s death in police firing

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by Bihar Government against the order of State High Court to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to a father of a 18-year-old boy killed in a police firing during the Maa Durga Idol Immersion procession. 

The Patna High Court in its order dated April 7, 2021, had directed the State Govt to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the father of the deceased who has remained in mental agony on account of the death of his young boy.

A two-judge bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah on Friday, while dealing with the petition, noted, “We found no ground to interfere with the judgment and order impugned in exercise of power under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.” “The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” said the Court. 

The petition was filed by the State Government against the State High Court’s direction to pay ex-gratia Rs 10 lakh compensation to the father of the deceased boy. The High Court had noted that, “the facts disclosed…an admitted position…son of petitioner…was unarmed in the procession, there is no allegation that he was indulged in any unlawful act, however he has been killed as a result of firing which took place on 26.10.2020. It was certainly an unfortunate incident in which the son of the petitioner has been killed.”

“The Court would not disclose the contents of the enquiry report but it’s judicial conscience compels it to exercise its extra-ordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to award a suitable amount of compensation to the petitioner,” it said. 

It added, “whether son of the petitioner died as a result of firing by police or by any miscreants from the mob would not be relevant for the simple reason that in any case the State had failed to protect the life of the son of the petitioner who was a spectator in the procession of Maa Durga Idol Immersion.” 

The Court had passed the directions to pay 10 lakh as compensation within one month and left it open for the petitioner to claim further compensation under private law remedy against the wrongdoer. The Court had also list the matter for hearing after four weeks with the report of the CID. 

Facts of the case

On 26.10.2020, petitioner (before the High Court) son namely Anurag Kumar, aged about 18 years was peacefully watching the procession of immersion of Maa Durga idol. The Superintendent of Police (S.P.) of Munger, namely, Ms. Lipi Singh was insisting the procession for hurriedly completing the Maa Durga idol immersion in the night itself which led to a chaos, resorting to firing on a crowd, they indulged in indiscriminate and brutal firing on the Maa Durga Devi devotees. The son of the petitioner was present in the immersion procession near DCM Showroom at Deen Dayal Chowk and he was peacefully watching the Maa Durga idol immersion procession & was killed in police firing.

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An F.I.R. being Kotwali (Munger) P.S. Case No. 298 of 2020 dated 27.10.2020 under Section 147/148/149/323/324/325/326/307/332/333/353/302/120(B), I.P.C. and Section 27 of the Arms Act was registered on the basis of written statement of the Sub-Inspector of Police, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Station House Officer, Mufassil (Munger) Police Station.

The appeal before the High Court was initially filed by father of the deceased seeking CBI investigation in a time bound manner and seeking 5 crore compensation for the brutal killing of his young son in the alleged police firing.

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