NHRC lashes out at IG of Prisons, cops for custodial death

The custodial death of a 30-year-old Dalit man in Gujarat’s Amreli Jail back in the year 2017 has landed the Inspector General IG of prisons in troubled waters as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) meted out harsh criticism for the IG and other police and administration officials, over their alleged “callous, irresponsible and non responsive attitude”.

The NHRC summons notice lashing out at the IG Prison for his failure to appear before the commission despite repeated notices has been accessed by news source Indian Express, Justicenews reports.

The case of custodial death of 30-year-old Jignesh Sondarva, a resident of Dungar village in Amreli died under suspicious circumstances at the Amreli Civil Hospital on July 15, 2017.

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He was sent to Amreli sub-jail for three days, for allegedly breaking the liquor prohibition law.

“The Commission is pained at the callous, irresponsible and non-responsive attitude of the concerned authority. That Inspector General of Prisons, Prison Headquarters, Govt. of Gujarat, Gandhinagar and other authorities can not escape from filing the requisite reports and they are directed to furnish the requisite reports and documents in the death case of an inmate of the district jail Amreli. These includes (1) complete medical treatment record, (2) Inquest Report, (3) Magisterial Enquiry Report, (4) VC/CD of post –mortem report, (5) Action Taken report on the Magisterial Enquiry report, (6) final outcome/status of departmental action or criminal proceedings against the offenders and (7) Health Screening report of victim at the time of entry in Jail and (8) final cause of death of the victim. That the concerned authorities are bound to submit the action taken report regarding the allegations and grievances of the complainant under section 13 (2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and they are legally bound to furnish the required information within the meaning of section 176 and section 177 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1960) (sic),” read the NHRC summon notice.

“The Commission vides its proceedings dated 11.07.2019 issued conditional summons to the Inspector General of Prisons, Prison Headquarters, Govt. of Gujarat, Gandhinagar to file the requisite report on or before 06.09.2019 failing which he was directed to appear in person before the Commission along with the report on 13.09.2019. In pursuant to the directions, Inspector General of Prisons, Prison Headquarters, Govt. of Gujarat, Gandhinagar did not file the requisite report, nor did he appear before the Commission on 13.09.2019(sic),” the NHRC notice added.

Dalit man Sondarva was arrested on July 12, 2017 by a team of Dungar Police station in case of violation of the Prohibition Act.

He was also presented before the Rajula Judicial Magistrate who denied bail and sent him to Amreli Sub jail under judicial custody.

Three days after the arrest, on July 15, 2017, the family members of Sondarva were called to where the victim had allegedly died under suspicious circumstances.

The victim’s post mortem reports revealed his head injury behind the cause of his death.

The deceased family members then alleged that Sondarva was repeatedly assaulted by fellow inmates who bashed his head against the wall inside the jail.

Later, an FIR was lodged against four inmates and they were arrested. Kantilal Parmar, a Dalit activist had approached the NHRC seeking its intervention in the matter.

“We demand Rs 1 crore compensation for the victim’s family and government job for his younger brother,” said Parmar, speaking to newsource.

The NHRC has once again summoned the IG Prisons SK Gadhvi, Amreli Collector Aayush Oak and Amreli SP Nirlipt Rai to appear before the commission on November 26 at 11 am.

Amreli Collector Aayush Oak said, “The CJM Amreli has completed the magisterial inquiry and submitted the report around ten days ago, which I had forwarded. The Principal district judge has also informed the NHRC that the inquiry report has been submitted.”

Nirlipt Rai, SP Amreli said: “The inquiry in this regard is conducted by the court and final report has already been submitted.”

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