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CIC/SA/A/2016/000884 of 2016M. Sridhar AcharyuluO.P.Gandi vs Tihar JailCIC

Public Authorities/State Must Compensate Victims For Extra-Detention As It Violates Right To Life : The Central Information Commission (CIC) through Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu in O.P. Gandhi v. Tihar Jail directed the state/public authorities to compensate a prisoner who lost out on his freedom due to extra detention, thus violating his fundamental right to a meaningful life guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The appellant was convicted under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonour of cheque for insufficiency of funds. He was sentenced to simple imprisonment for one year and fine. But after collecting information on remission and other aspects through 36 RTI applications, he contended that he was detained for an extra length of four days. The question for consideration was ‘other detriment’ of extra-detention, and compensation. The commission opined that since the order of remission to be granted to all the convicts who had maintained good conduct in the jail and had not been punished during preceding one year 15.08.2013 to 14.08.2014, and instead was issued on 11.08.2014, the appellant should have been released on that day itself. The authorities knew that the appellant has to be released on that day as per the remission order, yet he was detained till 15.08.2014. According to calculation of the appellant, he lost 14 days of freedom, and assuming that the order was given on 11.08.2014, as per the contention of the respondents, the appellant lost four days of freedom. Article 21 under the Constitution guarantees every Indian citizen right to personal life and liberty. An important question that came up was whether the state/public authority could be made liable for false imprisonment. Landmark case Rudul Shah v State of Bihar [AIR 1983 SC 1086] and another important case Bhim Singh, MLA vs State of J&K and Ors. [AIR 1986 SC 494] were relied upon wherein the Supreme Court held that the state has to compensate for extra detention.