Jharkhand High Court has directed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to pay a compensation of Rs 8 lakh to a man nabbed from a roadside eatery in Bihar and lodged in Ranchi jail after being “falsely implicated” in a drug-related case.
The bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi also quashed an FIR and related legal proceedings against petitioner Manga Singh, 45, and ordered his immediate release. Singh had been in Birsa Munda Central Jail in Hotwar, Ranchi, for eight years.
While issuing the direction on Wednesday — the order copy of which was issued on Friday — the high court observed that the police atrocity or custodial violence infringes the right to life and basic human rights and strikes a blow at the rule of law.
“He (petitioner) has remained in jail custody for about eight years for a crime which he has not committed. In view of the above position of law, the petitioner shall be entitled to a sum of Rs 8 lakh as compensation and the same shall be paid to the petitioner through the additional director-general (ADG) of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), sub-zone, Ranchi within eight weeks from the date of receipt/ production of a copy of this order,” the directive said.
“The petitioner is directed to be released forthwith and the necessary formalities shall be made by the authority concerned without any delay,” it added.
Singh, a native of Punjab, had in his plea stated that he was working as a waiter and cleaner at a dhaba at Barachatti in Gaya when he was picked up by 10 people wearing police uniforms on October 6, 2015, and had been in jail custody since then. He alleged that he had been implicated by the NCB on the basis of a false seizure list.
Singh sought the quashing of the FIR linked to an NDPS Special Case registered under sections 8/18(b) of the NDPS Act, 1985 along with the order taking cognisance of the case.
The complainant alleged that he was forcefully taken by individuals claiming to be NCB officials. Singh also accused them of confiscating the vehicle and personal belongings of another individual to falsely implicate them in a drug-related offence. Singh said he was then taken to Ranchi where Rs 10 lakh was demanded for his release.
Ranchi-based advocate Shailesh Poddar, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that Singh and the other individual were falsely implicated and the former has been in jail custody without any evidence against him. The NCB had filed multiple withdrawal petitions under Section 321 of the CrPC, all of which were rejected.
The petitioner also requested his release and a compensation of Rs 50 lakh.
The court noted that the petitioner had been unjustly imprisoned for several years and this violated Article 21 of the Constitution. It was mentioned that the NCB had initiated actions against its officials responsible for the false case.