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SC Slashes Compensation for 5 Men Framed in Murder Case by 95%

The Supreme Court reduced the compensation for the five men, who were jailed for 93 days, from Rs 2 lakh each to Rs 10,000 each.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:March 1, 2018, 9:35 AM IST
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SC Slashes Compensation for 5 Men Framed in Murder Case by 95%
File photo of the Supreme Court.
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New Delhi: In a questionable order, the Supreme Court has reduced the compensation for five innocent men, who were framed in a murder case and jailed for 93 days, from Rs 2 lakh each to Rs 10,000 each.

The court order meant a reduction of 95% in the total compensation awarded by the Madras High Court in what the latter had described as a case of "gravest human rights violation".

While the Madras HC asked the Tamil Nadu government to pay up having regard to the "agony, stigma, sorrows and sufferings of the victims", the top court apparently considered only the loss of 93 days of wages for them.

“The High Court has awarded compensation of Rs 2 lakh on the ground that the respondents were wrongly implicated in the criminal case where it was alleged that the house was set on fire resulting in death of six persons. Having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case, we are of the view that the amount of compensation be reduced to Rs 10,000 as it is stated that there was loss of 93 days of wages," held a bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and Uday U Lalit.

The bench was adjudicating an appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu government, questioning the quantum of compensation.

According to the state government, even though the men had to suffer due to a botched probe, the HC order of damages lacked sound basis.

The apex court said it would not quash the HC order but agreed with the state that the compensation could be reduced.

It disposed of the appeal after reducing the compensation to a meagra 5% of the total sum awarded by the HC.

In September 2012, six persons were killed when a house at
Thoppuvalasai village in Ramanathapuram district was set on fire due to a land dispute.

Nine men were arrested in connection with the arson and murder case, but when one of the accused moved the HC against the charge, the court noted severe deficiencies in the investigation.

The area Superintendent of Police was summoned and entrusted with the task of personally re-investigating the case. The SP's report gave a clean chit to five of the nine accused and suggested that they seemed to have been falsely implicated.

Subsequently, in June 2015, the HC quashed the charges against the five accused and set them free.

It also highlighted how five innocent men were arrested and detained in prison for 93 days before being out on bail, apart from facing the charges in the trial court for three years.

"The act of the police in falsely implicating these persons in a case of six murders is nothing short of a gravest human rights violation... Implicating a person in a criminal case falsely, causing ever-lasting stigma not only on him but also on the entire family, taking him to the Court and by branding him as a murderer for three years, in my considered view, are all very serious human rights violations," the HC had noted.

About the compensation, it had held as: "Any amount of compensation may not be a substitute for the amount of human rights violations committed by the police in this case. I am only hopeful that the paltry amount of compensation, which I intend to order for, will at least wipe out the tears of these innocent people to some extent."
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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