Patna HC orders Department of Police to pay Rs 2 lakh compensation to a man subjected to custodial violence and police atrocity

Patna High Court

Patna High Court: The present writ petition was filed by petitioner, alleging custodial violence perpetrated upon his son, and sought the following reliefs, (a) to direct respondents to act against Respondents 6 to 8 who had illegally arrested his son and beaten him badly by lathi, kicked, and punched and gave serious injury to him; (b) to act against respondents who arrested his son on 4-7-2017 and produced him before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on 8-7-2017, i.e., after four days, which was contrary to the provision of Sections 56 and 57 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’); and (c) to direct respondents for any other appropriate writ/writs, order/orders, direction/directions, relief/reliefs for which petitioner was found entitle to.

Bibek Chaudhuri, J.*, stated that under Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872 (‘the Act’), police officers had special knowledge as to who committed custodial violence upon petitioner’s son. Thus, the Court held that due to such custodial violence and police atrocity, the Department of Police under the Home Department should pay compensation of Rs 2 lakh to petitioner’s son.


On 4-7-2017, petitioner’s son was picked up from the Court premises at Siwan by police in connection with a case registered under Section 326, 307, and 34 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959 based on some confessional statement made by the co-accused persons. It was submitted that the Investigating Officer and other Police Officers, who were involved in arresting petitioner’s son from Siwan Court premises probably did not know that statement of an accused implicating another in the commission of offence was not admissible in evidence and this could not be treated as basis of arrest of a person without having any concurrent material against him.

After arrest, petitioner’s son was taken to Muffasil Police Station, Siwan and kept in police custody, where he complained of breathing problem in the police lock up and thus, was immediately taken to the local hospital. The Medical Officer examined him, found various injuries on him, and opined that the nature of injuries was simple and were caused by hard and blunt substances. Thus, it was submitted that petitioner’s son received injuries while in police custody and to show the extent of injuries, petitioner submitted photographs, which showed that the upper part of both the legs of petitioner’s son were severely injured with marks of bruise, hematoma, and swelling.

Counsel for petitioner submitted that from the beginning, petitioner’s son made complaint of police atrocity while he was in custody of police and on 8-7-2017, he was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, where petitioner’s son told him that he was feeling pain in his chest and legs, and he was not feeling strength in his legs and there was mark of hematoma on the left thigh with swelling of the accused. Thereafter, petitioner’s son was remanded to judicial custody with such injury and the Medical Officer, attached to the correctional home was directed to give proper treatment to him. Further, the incident took place in 2017 and till March 2024, Respondent 5, the Superintendent of Police, Siwan did not find out the culprits who assaulted petitioner’s son. Thus, it was submitted that petitioner’s son was severely tortured and assaulted in police custody and still no criminal case was initiated against the erring police officer.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court noted that it was not disputed that petitioner’s son was in custody under Respondent 7 and all police officers and personnel who were on duty on 4-7-2017 in Muffasil Police Station, Siwan. Thus, the Court stated that under Section 106 of the Act, police officers had special knowledge as to who committed custodial violence upon petitioner’s son. The Court opined that if the police personnel failed to discharge their burden of special knowledge, adverse presumption might be drawn against them.

The Court thus concluded that the Officer-in-charge, lock up in-charge and all other police officers and personnel who were on duty on 4-7-2017, were responsible to state how and by whom petitioner’s son was assaulted in the police lock up and, on their failure, to provide such information, they were liable to be prosecuted. The Court directed Respondent 5 to lodge a complaint against the Officer-in-Charge and all police officers and the lock up in-charge of Siwan Muffasil Police Station under appropriate penal provisions for custodial violence and atrocities perpetrated upon petitioner’s son.

The Court relied on State of M.P. v. Shyamsunder Trivedi, (1995) 4 SCC 262, wherein the Supreme Court observed that “the Courts must not lose sight of the fact that death in police custody is one of the worst kind of crimes in a civilised society, governed by the rule of law and poses a serious threat to an orderly civilised society. Torture in custody flouts the basic rights of the citizens recognised by the Constitution and is an affront to human dignity. Police excesses and the maltreatment of detainees/undertrial prisoners or suspects tarnishes the image of any civilised nation and encourages the men in ‘Khaki’ to consider themselves to be above the law and sometimes even to become law unto themselves”.

The Court held that due to such custodial violence and police atrocity, the Department of Police under the Home Department should pay compensation of Rs 2 lakh to petitioner’s son within four weeks from the date of this order and the order of payment of compensation shall be executed by the Principal Secretary, Department of Home, Government of Bihar.

The Court further held that Respondent 5 would be the official informant in connection with the criminal complaint, directed to be lodged against the police personnel. The investigation of the proposed criminal case should be concluded with the statutory period mentioned in Section 167(5) of CrPC, so that immediate trial of the offenders might be ensured.

[Dinesh Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, 2024 SCC OnLine Pat 961, decided on 23-4-2024]

*Judgment authored by: Justice Bibek Chaudhuri

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: Shama Sinha, Asmita, Shreya, Advocates

For the Respondents: Prabhat Kumar Verma, Advocate

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