HC opens door for investigation against 6 cops, 2 doctors in custodial death case

  • | Monday | 4th December, 2023

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand High Court (HC) stayed the Tehri Garhwal district judges order, issued in September this year, that had nullified the chief judicial magistrates (CJM) directive of issuing summons to six cops and two doctors in a custodial death case under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (culpable homicide) and 201 (destroying evidence). SvaroopSingh (38), a resident of Ghansali, died in mysterious circumstances on May 21, 2011, after being taken into police custody following a clash with a woman.Subsequently, his brother, Mor Singh, filed an FIR against six policemen and three doctors accusing them of murdering his brother and tampering with evidence. One of the doctors passed away a few years ago.In the complaint filed in the CJM court, Mor had stated that his brother was passing through the market and there was a heavy traffic jam when he got into an argument with a woman sitting in her car. After this, home guard Sohan Lal and the cops patrolling there took him to the police post and thrashed him brutally. "Svaroop was taken to a primary health centre by cops where doctors declared him dead," Singh said. Four days later, an FIR was filed against cops under IPC section 302 (murder) at the New Tehri police station.In December 2022, CJM Vinod Kumar Barman had observed that, "It is impossible to find any evidence regarding the brutality meted out to a person in police custody. Doctors involved in the post-mortem deliberately did not follow the standard operating procedure of videography and destroyed important medical evidence to benefit police." The CJMs order was challenged in the court of district judge Yogesh Kumar Gupta, who quashed the order saying that "if the CJM court had found any discrepancy in the investigation, it would have warranted a fresh inquiry by an independent agency. Instead, the CJM court committed a mistake by accepting the complaint as a case and issuing summons to the cops and doctors". A single bench of Justice Rakesh Thapliyal on Saturday stayed the order passed by the district judge and issued a notice to the eight accused. Petitioners lawyer Manoj Joshi told TOI on Sunday, "The court is of the view that the post-mortem report was tampered with to benefit police and there was no video footage of the autopsy, which is mandatory in case of suspicious custodial deaths." The court also directed the state government to file an affidavit and listed the case for the next hearing on December 21.

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