Shocking that 18-years-old boy was shot by police, pay Rs 10 lakh compensation: SC to Bihar

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New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with Patna High Court order directing payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation to father of 18-year-old boy, who was allegedly killed in a police firing incident in Munger district of Bihar last year, saying that “it is shocking that a young boy was shot”.

The top court observed that police had not investigated the case properly because then Munger Superintendent of Police was a relative of a member of the ruling party.

The boy was shot on October 26, last year during clashes between police and mob going to do immersion of idols of goddess Durga after which he was brought to the hospital, where he succumbed to the injury.

A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah said, “A 18-year-old body, a bystander was shot by the police and we can say the way the police has investigated this matter is really shocking”.

The bench said, “We find no ground to interfere with the judgment and order impugned in exercise of power under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed.” At the outset, Justice Shah said, “We have gone through the case files and the orders of the High Court. We can say that the police have done absolutely nothing in the matter. Then Munger SP is a relative of member of the ruling party in Bihar. That’s why nothing was done and the case was transferred to CID. You must comply with the order”.

Justice Shah further said, “We have gone through the order. It is well reasoned order which does not call for any interference. He was a young boy who had his entire life before him”.

Advocate Manish Kumar, appearing for Bihar government, vehemently opposed the observations and said that he is not challenging the order but is against Rs 10 lakh compensation at this stage, when there is no clear cut finding that whether the youth was a victim or an accused, as firearms were found in the procession.

He said that the procession was illegal as permission was granted for immersion of idols till October 25 but they took out the procession on October 26, last year.

“Several firearms, bullets and cartridges were found at the site of the clash and we don’t know at this time whether he was shot by police firing or he was shot by someone else in the mob,” Kumar said.

He said that nowadays protests are happening whether it's farm law protests or anti-CAA protests and if police officers are asked to pay for compensation to rioters then they will refrain from taking any action.

Kumar said that the High Court is supervising the investigation and till concrete findings are there, the state may not be directed to pay for compensation and that part of the High Court be stayed.

The bench said that besides monitoring the investigation, the High Court is also looking into the role of police officials in the matter. “I do not doubt the compensation or other parts of the order. I am not questioning at this moment whether the deceased was a victim or an accused. I am only saying let the concrete findings come out on this aspect,” Kumar said.

On April 7, the Patna High Court ordered the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to the deceased Anurag Poddar’s father Amar Nath Poddar, who has approached the court for CBI probe and compensation into the matter. Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, appearing for father of the deceased had contended that when allegation of murder are on the local police then the investigation of the crime should not be conducted by them.

He has contended that even though the investigation is not complete as of now but the death of the victim has certainly taken place due to failure of law and order of the state government and hence the family of the victim is entitled for the compensation forthwith.

In the plea, Bihar government has said that the impugned order is factually and legally unsustainable and the High Court has not correctly applied the compensatory jurisdiction in the absence of conclusive findings about violation of fundamental rights by the State. The government said that it is an admitted position that the son of the petitioner was part of the unlawful assembly and had on October 26, 2020 participated in the procession of immersion of Maa Durga idol despite prohibitory orders of the State where the assembly election was scheduled to be held on October 28, 2020.

“Admittedly in the present case the investigation is on-going as per directions of the impugned order. Therefore, the violation of any fundamental right of the deceased is most certainly doubtful and not established,” it said. PTI MNL ABA SJK MNL RKS RKS

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