Eighteen years after the gunning down of a young engineer by an Assistant Sub Inspector of the state police, the Orissa High Court has slammed the State Government for dilly-dallying in adequately compensating the deceased’s family and directed the government to pay Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to the slain engineer’s 70-year-old mother.
“The deceased mother Nigar Begum (the petitioner) will hand over the ex-gratia draft at her residence at least within seven days from the date of communication of this judgment. Since a sum of Rs 1 lakh has already been paid to the petitioner towards compensation, a draft for a sum will amount to Rs 49,00,000 (Rs forty nine lakh). This Court makes it clear, in the event the compensation, as directed above, is not handed over to the petitioner within seven days of communication of this judgment, the petitioner will be entitled to interest @ 7% on the compensation,” the single bench judge Justice Biswanath Rath directed in a judgment that was released by the High Court registry on Thursday.
It is also beyond imagination to realise the loss of the mother who lost such a useful child. Compensation ought to take into account the status of the family so that the amount of ex-gratia does not make the mother lose any of her expectations through such an able-bodied son. For the opinion of this Court, no amount of ex-gratia can bring back her son, Justice Rath observed.
Sayed Mamtaj Ali, the eldest son of the petitioner, was serving as Supervisor (Mechanical) and was employed on contractual basis with the Hindustan Construction Company Limited at Chandikhol-Paradeep Port Trust Road Project.
On 29 November, 2005, Assistant Sub Inspector Muralidhar Sahoo, who was then also the Officer-in-Charge of the Chakradharpur outpost in Jagatsinghpur district, had detained Jayanta Kumar Das, an employee of the company.
The cop had allegedly fired at Ali when he had been to the police outpost to inquire about the detention of his subordinate. He succumbed to bullet injuries right at the police outpost.
As the death of the engineer due to police triggered hue and cry across the state, the Chief Minister had ordered an inquiry by Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Central Division, Cuttack in to the incident
The Commissioner had recommended the government to consider appropriate compensation after finding it to be an illegal act of the State police. The government had later awarded a meager Rs one lakh compensation towards the bereaved family.