GUWAHATI, Dec 4 - A full bench of the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) comprising Justice T Vaiphei, Chairperson; NK Bora and DK Saikia, has recommended payment of Rs 2 lakh as compensation to one Ramani Kalita by Sub Inspector Satyajit Borah of Chandmari Police Station for a case of ‘mistaken identity’ arrest.
It was alleged by Ramani Kalita that he was mistaken for his namesake and arrested by the said police officer through a non-bailable warrant of arrest (NBWA) which did not have the complete information like age, father’s name, actual address, occupation, etc., and was remanded to 15-day custody.
The complainant said that he had reiterated his identity before the police officers at Mirza Police Station and Chandmari Police Station that there was another person by the same name working in the same office, the Directorate of Industries, Bamunimaidam, Chandmari. But the police did not pay any heed to his explanation. The warrant issued by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate was in connection with GR No.1828/05 arising out of Dispur PS Case No. 571/2005 U/s 341/325/307 IPC.
Charged officer Borah was furnished with a copy of the enquiry report and the complaint to enable him to defend himself under Section 16 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. He was also given an opportunity to cross-examine the complainant and his witness.
After due process, the Commission, in its order, opined that the charged officer was guilty of callousness, negligence, recklessness, arbitrariness and non-application of mind in the execution of a vague non-bailable warrant against the complainant.
“At the most, he could have detained the complainant at the police station for some time without producing him before the magistrate. The complainant was deprived of his personal liberty for fifteen days due to avoidable mistaken identity,” the AHRC order stated.
The rights panel has however, stated that the payment shall be made by the charged officer in 20 equal instalments of Rs 10,000 per month with effect from February 3, 2020, which will be deducted from Borah’s monthly salary by the drawing and disbursing officer concerned.
“It is, however, open to the State government to initiate a departmental enquiry for major punishment against the charged officer in lieu of payment of compensation so recommended,” the court order further mentioned.