On 10 February, the Madhya Pradesh High Court rebuked the state government for detaining an innocent man and tricking to defend its illegal actions.
A divisional bench comprising of Justices S C Sharma and Shailendra Shukla was hearing a Habeas Corpus petition filed by one Kamlesh, who is the son of the detenu Husan, a 68 years old illiterate tribal man. The petition contended that the detenu was illegally arrested and imprisoned without proper investigation. Observing the reports submitted by the government and the contentions of the petition, the court directed the state government for an immediate release of the detenu Husan, who was found to be detained illegally. Further, the bench has also directed to file a separate case of contempt proceedings against Manoharsingh Baria, Sub Divisional Officer (Police) as well as others involved, for making a false statement on an affidavit in respect of detention of the petitioner’s father.
The facts of the case involve that one Husna, son of Ramsingh was convicted by the Sessions Court under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was then released on parole, who had later died on 10 September 2016. However, since Husna did not report back to the jail authorities after the expiry of his parole, the father of the petitioner, Husan was arrested, produced before the Magistrate and was sent to Jail.
While defending its illegal action of imprisoning an innocent man, aged around 68 years, the State Government in its report submitted that Husan was the same person who was convicted to life imprisonment and issued an arrest warrant after which the Station House Officer, Bar has arrested Husan, produced him before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Dhar and then sent him to jail. Further, the State has submitted an affidavit in this regard stating that it had detained the right person.
Nonetheless, on emphasis by the petitioner, the court directed the Home Department to conduct an inquiry-based upon the fingerprints and other materials to determine the facts. Subsequently, the reports submitted by the Principal Secretary of Home Department, revealed that the detenu Husan was not the person who was convicted by the trial court. It was further revealed that Husna and Husan were stepbrothers and that the actual convict Husna had died in the year 2016.
The court observed that “the person who is in jail is not Husna, meaning thereby, an innocent person is languishing in jail for the last four months. The present case is an example of arresting innocent people without identifying them properly.” The bench has further directed the State Government to pay a compensation amount of Rs 5 Lakh to Husan, father of the Petitioner.
The court referred to Sebastian M. Hongray v/s Union of India and observed that we have a right to award monetary compensation by way of exemplary cost or otherwise. When a person comes to us with the complaint that he has been arrested and imprisoned with mischievous intent and that his constitutional and legal rights were invaded, the mischief or malice and the invasion may not be washed away or wished by his being set free.”
Scorning the government, the court stated, “it is really unfortunate that while filing a return in the case, an attempt was made by the State of Madhya Pradesh to incriminate an innocent man.”