Custodial death of Lipak Nyorak: NHRC issues notice to Arunachal Government over compensation

On 5 May 2022, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued show cause notice to State Government of Arunachal Pradesh through its Chief Secretary to show cause as to why the Commission should not recommend compensation of Rs 5 lakhs to be paid to the next of kin (NoK) of 30-year-old tribal, Lipak Nyorak @ Tarzan who died in the custody of Banderdewa police station in Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh on 10 December 2020. The Chief Secretary was directed the respond within six weeks.

The NHRC registered the case (51/2/10/2020-AD) based on the complaint of the ILAI on 11 December 2020. The deceased tribal was arrested by the police in connection with a theft case and was allegedly tortured in custody. However, the police claimed that the deceased committed suicide by hanging himself with the blanket inside the lockup.

The NHRC took cognizance of the complaint and sought reports from District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Itanagar. The post mortem report of the deceased revealed abraded bruise over forehead, contusion on face, lacerated abrasion on nose, left knee and ligature mark on the neck.

The NHRC held that the State is vicariously liable for the death of the deceased as he was under the care and custody of the State. In its show cause notice issued to the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh as to why a sum of Rs. Five Lakhs as monetary compensation as per policy formulated and issued for payment of compensation on account of suicidal death by Haryana Government (Jail Department) vide Notification No.36/89/2019-1JJ-II dated 29.6.2021 shall be not recommended by the Commission to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased. While issuing the notice, the NHRC reiterated its direction to all the States/UTs issued vide its proceedings dated 9 February 2022 to formulate similar policy as framed by the State of Haryana vide Notification dated 29.6.2021 by quantifying compensation on account of death of prisoners confined in jails either by fixing same amount of compensation or any other amount of compensation to be fixed by the States, and the NHRC has also decided to follow the same yardstick for the time being while recommending payment of compensation in such cases.

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