New Delhi: After 25 years of the 1997 Connaught Place shootout case, the Delhi High Court has awarded compensation of the sum of Rs 15 lakhs along with simple interest @ 8 percent per annum, from the date of the incident till the date of payment to sole survivor, Tarun Preet Singh who was one of the victims in Connaught Place shootout, which took place on March 31, 1997.
In this case, the court said that the petitioner continues to live with shrapnel in his body, which by itself can be traumatizing as the side effects of the same may be unknown even as of today.
“Any compensation awarded ought to take care of not merely his present condition but any future complications that may arise. He has two children for whom he needs to cater in terms of education and marriage. The fact that the other two friends passed away but the Petitioner was merely injured cannot result in different standards being applied, inasmuch as even in the case of Petitioner, who is alive, he has lost the prime of his life,” the Court said.
The present petition was filed by the sole survivor Tarun Preet in December 1998 and sought compensation of Rs 1 crore. Tarun during the shootout had got serious injuries. He was represented by the Advocates Sachin Jain, Ajay Kumar Aggarwal and Isha Aggarwal in the long legal battle.
The bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh in a judgement passed on April 26, 2022, said, “Keeping in mind inflation rates, a sum of Rs 15 lakhs is awarded as compensation, which shall be paid along with simple interest @ 8 percent per annum, from the date of the incident till the date of payment. In addition, a sum of Rs 2 lakhs shall also be awarded as litigation costs to the petitioner.”
The Court noted that, injury caused due to the state action and that too one, where the police officials were convicted of criminal offences and not some inaction or negligence, needs to be considered at a higher standard as compared to those of ordinary cases of negligence and inaction.
The court while passing the order also made clear that the present order is being passed in peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case as the Incident in which the petitioner was involved itself, was not an ordinary incident.
Court noted that ten Delhi Policemen gunned down two innocent men during a botched operation in Connaught Place in 1997.
The petitioner Tarun Preet Singh and his two friends, Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh were travelling in a car and had stopped at Barakhamba Road, near Connaught Place when a shootout involving the Delhi Police, took place. When the three friends were taken to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the two friends of the petitioner were declared brought dead and the petitioner got serious injuries.
In the case, the trial court concluded on October 16, 2007, and 10 police officials were convicted. They were sentenced to life imprisonment on October 24, 2007.
The conviction was upheld by the High Court on September 18, 2009, and by the Supreme Court, vide judgment dated May 2, 2011.