20 dead in captivity across NE prisons; Gauhati HC orders compensation

20 dead in captivity across NE prisons; Gauhati HC orders compensation
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Nagaland directed to pay compensation within 1 month

GUWAHATI, JUNE 7: The Gauhati High Court has ordered 4 Northeastern states to pay ?3,00,000 each to the next of kin of 20 prisoners who died in captivity from 2012-2016.
Jails in Assam recorded 16 of these “unnatural deaths” followed by 2 in Nagaland and 1 each in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, the Court observed.
The Court had on September 17, 2017 taken up a public interest litigation on “inhuman conditions in 1,382 prisons” with a view to identifying the next of kin of the prisoners who died unnaturally between 2012 and 2015, and awarding adequate compensation in cases where payment is pending.
The numbers of such unnatural deaths were subsequently collected from jails in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland – 4 states over which the Gauhati High Court has jurisdiction.
On June 4, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Achintya Malla Bujorbarua ordered the Governments and heads of prisons of the 4 states to pay ?3,00,000 to the kin of the dead prisoners.
The Inspector General of Prisons, Assam, said in an affidavit-in-opposition that there were 16 deaths in the jails across the State. The next of kin of 2 prisoners had been compensated while the process for the remaining 14 cases has not been completed, he said.
The Advocate representing the State of Assam said the compensation would be paid within 30 days.
Assam’s Principal Secretary for Home said 4 committees have been constituted for improving living conditions and mental state of the convicts in jails across the State.
Officials representing Mizoram said compensation for the unnatural death of one Lalnunzauva on September 25, 2015 was paid in February 2017. Arunachal Pradesh too said it has sanctioned the compensation amount in the case of the death of 2 prisoners.
Nagaland, however, did not report payment of compensation for the unnatural death of a prisoner. “We direct the State of Nagaland to immediately pay ?300,000 to next kin of the deceased prisoner positively within a month from today (Monday)… Nagaland shall also positively inform the Registrar General of this High Court regarding payment and compliance of the order within 4 weeks,” the Division Bench said.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)