Compensation Awarded through HRLN Manipur to Victim of Unjustified Killing by Assam Rifles

The Gauhati High Court, Imphal Bench has disposed of a Writ Petition filed by Sagolshem Ongbi Latani Devi for unjustified killing of her husband Sagolshem Vikram Singh aged about 22 years, of Keirao Bitra Awang Leikai, Imphal East District on 3rd October 2006 by the personnel of 34 Assam Rifles. A division bench comprising of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Tayenjam Nandakumar Singh and Hon’ble Justice K. Meruno has issued the judgment and order thereby directing the Assam Rifles authority to pay a sum of Rs. 4,00,000/- (Rupees four lakh only) as compensation to the Petitioner within four months. Further the Hon’ble High Court has directed to pay another sum of Rs. 5,000/- (Rupees five thousand) as fee to the counsel for the Petitioner. Shri Meihoubam Rakesh, Advocate appeared on behalf of the Petitioner. The Petitioner contended in her Writ Petition that in the year 2004 Sagolshem Vikram Singh was arrested by the police on the allegation that he was member of People Liberation Army (PLA), a proscribed organization and was detained under National Security Act, 1980 for one year. After releasing from the jail he married to Konthoujam Latani Devi and stayed at the parental house of his wife at Nongbrang village by doing quarry work at Thoubal River to eke out a living. On 3rd October 2006 at around 4 a.m. said Sagolshem Vikram Singh was arrested from the house of his wife by a team of 34 Assam Rifles personnel stationed at Yairipok. At the time of his arrest the Assam Rifles personnel did not issue any arrest Memo and no incriminating articles were seized from his possession. Thereafter he was taken to the Thoubal River bank which is about 50 meter away from the house of the Petitioner to the north and he was shot death in a fake encounter. Thereafter the personnel of 34 Assam Rifles lodged a false report to the Yairipok Police Station alleging that Vikram was killed in an encounter and they recovered a pistol from his possession. The very act of 34 Assam Rifles personnel amounts to violation of right to life enshrined in the Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Hence the writ petition was filed praying for punishment of the errant Assam Rifles personnel and claiming adequate compensation under the public law domain. Before passing the present judgment and order the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court had directed the learned District Judge, Manipur West to hold an enquiry to ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to death of Sagolshem Vikram Singh. In pursuance of the said order, the learned District Judge, Manipur West had conducted her inquiry and submitted her inquiry report ascertaining that Sagolshem Vikram Singh was arrested from the house of his wife in the early morning of 3rd October 2006. Further he was not killed in an encounter between the personnel of 34 Assam Rifles and the U.Gs. in the early morning of 3rd October 2006. It is also held that the facts and circumstances leading to the death of the said deceased are that Sagolshem Vikram Singh was arrested from the house of his wife at Nongbrang village by the personnel of 34 Assam Rifles without any charge and was killed near the bank of Thoubal river. After analyzing the said inquiry report and hearing the submissions of the counsels for the parties, the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court has accepted the said report and as such the Court has directed the Respondent No. 1 to 4 to pay above mentioned amount as compensation within four months. The Respondents listed in the case include (i) The Union of India, represented by the Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, (ii) The Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, (iii) The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 57 Mountain Division, (iv) The Commanding Officer, 34 Assam Rifles, (v) The State of Manipur represented by the principal Secretary (Home), Government of Manipur (vi) The Director General of Police, Manipur and (vii) The Superintendent of Police, Imphal East District. The present Writ Petition is being filed at the initiative of Human Rights Law Network (Manipur).