HC glare on relief delay

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By LALMOHAN PATNAIK
  • Published 19.09.14
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Cuttack, Sept. 18: Orissa High Court today expressed displeasure at the state government’s apathy in failing to give timely response for determination of quantum of compensation to be awarded to a person for his illegal detention for seven years.

The court was dealing with the case of Duleswar Barik, 34, who, in spite of acquittal, was not released from jail and kept in prison, along with the convicted and undertrials.

After observing that the Duleswar had been illegally confined in jail for seven years “in the garb of a fake excuse that he is mentally insane”, the court had ordered for his release forthwith on September 2.

The order stated: “A person although may be suffering from mental ailment, once cured and acquitted by a court of law, could not have been confined in jail by any stretch of imagination. The act of the state and jail authorities impinges upon fundamental right of an individual to lead a life, free of all shackles.”

The court, however, had kept the matter pending for determination of compensation at the request of the then advocate-general, Asok Mohanty, to be given liberty to file an objection.

Accordingly on September 3, the court permitted the state government two-week time and fixed September 18 for argument.

Today, state counsel S.K. Zaffarulla sought more time. “Granting last opportunity, the division bench of Justice Vinod Prasad and Justice S.K. Sahoo postponed the matter to September 25,” Duleswar’s counsel Prafulla Kumar Kar said.

“He has been robbed off all the fruits of life, love and affection, care and caring of his family members and the loved one. No quantum of money can adequately compensate him,” the bench had observed in its order September 3.

At 21, Duleswar murdered six persons at Alapata in the Kingirkila police station area on January 8, 2003.

Upon conviction, the court of additional sessions judge, Sundargarh, sentenced him to death on July 27, 2004. The death reference case was taken up by the high court. On behalf of Duleswar, it was argued that no penal liability could be attributed to him as he was of unsound mind at the relevant time and entitled to an order of acquittal.