In 2014, a law student was attacked with acid; the court has now sentenced the perpetrators to life in prison
In 2014, a law student was attacked with acid; the court has now sentenced the perpetrators to life in prison

An under-trial inmate was murdered by a fellow inmate in Srinagar’s Central Jail over ten years ago, and on Friday, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh ordered the government to pay Rs 5 lakh in compensation to the victim’s family.

A bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar ordered the government to pay the compensation to Muhammad Ismail Shah, who was an undertrial in a murder case, because “the fact that the respondent State has failed to properly manage the jail barracks and allowed condition of the same to deteriorate to such a level that a co-prisoner was able to take out a stone/brick from the wall, shows clear negligence and callousness on the part of the respondents (authorities)”.


According to the court, the authorities’ own admission that the jail structure was extremely old and the fact that the co-defendant was able to remove a stone from the wall of the jail to use as a weapon against the dead were both factors in the death penalty being upheld.

The court said, “Therefore, they cannot escape their responsibility for the custodial death of the deceased” after noting that the jail officials had failed to safeguard the safety and security of the unlucky under-trial prisoner.

The court found that the decedent’s death in custody was caused by the authorities’ “negligence and callousness.” The court noted that just because the deceased was an undertrial in a murder case did not release the authorities from their responsibility to keep him safe and secure in prison.

The court ruled that the deceased in the current instance was entitled to protection by the jail authorities despite being an under-trial prisoner in a murder case since prisoners cannot be stripped of their constitutional rights unless in conformity with law.

Because his death occurred behind bars, he was unjustly robbed of his life.

The court found that Shah’s premature death robbed his wife, children, and other loved ones of his love, devotion, and companionship, and that the government agencies responsible for this “negligence” owed them financial restitution.

“Having regard to the age of the deceased, who, according to the postmortem report, was 48 years old at the relevant time, and keeping in view the fact that all the children of the deceased are major, ends of justice would be met if an amount of Rs.5 (lakh) is awarded as compensation in favour of the petitioners (widow and children) to be paid by the respondents,” the court said.

Within three months, the government must pay Rs 5 lakh to the deceased’s family as compensation, as ordered by the court.



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