The Madras High Court has asked the government to expeditiously finish the inquiry into custodial deaths and release compensation to the next of kin within four months. The HC passed the direction while hearing a suo moto plea initiated by it on Supreme Court direction.
In September 2017, the Supreme Court has asked all high courts to initiate such suo moto proceedings in order to identify and compensate the victims of custodial deaths.
The suo moto has directed the state government to ascertain the next of kin of the prisoners who died between 2012 to 2015 and whose death thereafter was classified as unnatural by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), for necessary compensation.
Report Submitted By Principal Secretary
In this context, the principal secretary to the home department submitted a report to a bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose .
The report stated that around 157 cases of custodial deaths had been reported in the state during 2012-16. Out of these 134 have been concluded using judicial magistrate reports while in 23 cases, inquiry is still ongoing.
The bench noting the submission directed the pending inquiry to be completed expeditiously and stated that if the cases are entitled to compensation, the compensation must be released at the earliest not later than four months.
The bench has posted the matter to June 8, for submission of a status report.