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Rajan Pillai death: HC notice to Centre

Last updated on: September 5, 2011 13:56 IST

Rajan Pillai death: HC notice to Centre

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Delhi high court on Monday sought response from the Centre as well as the city government on a plea of Nina Pillai, widow of Singapore-based Chairman of Britannia Group Rajan Pillai who had died in Tihar Jail nearly 16 years ago, seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by a single judge.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also issued notices to Tihar Jail authorities and the Delhi government besides the Centre on Pillai's plea for compensation of more than Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million), the amount awarded by a single judge in May this year.

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Image: Rajan Pillai (inset).

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Appearing for Pillai, senior advocate C Aryama Sundaram, submitted before the bench that the petitioner is seeking more compensation for charitable purposes and not for personal use.

He submitted that 16 years have lapsed since the death of Pillai's husband in custody and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh was inadequate.

The money, he said, would be spent for the purpose of betterment of the girl child in the city as also that of Tihar inmates.

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Rajan Pillai death: HC notice to Centre

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On May 13, Justice S Murlidhar, while holding the state liable for lapses in providing medical care to Rajan Pillai, had directed it to pay 'within a period of four weeks a token compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Nina Pillai and her two sons together with costs of litigation quantified at Rs 20,000.'

The court had allowed Nina to use 'the amount in any charitable cause of their (family's) choice in keeping with the statement made by them' during the hearing besides issuing directions for improvement of facilities inside Tihar Jail.

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Rajan Pillai death: HC notice to Centre

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Holding the state liable for lapses which led to the industrialist's death, the court had said, "Pillai's death occurred while he was in judicial custody.

There is both a constitutional and a legal obligation of the state, in terms of Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution, to protect the life and liberty of every inmate of a prison."

Singapore-based Pillai, who was suffering from various ailments including alcoholic liver cirrhosis, had died in the Deen Dayal Upadhayay Hospital here on July 7, 1995 due to lack of proper medical care.

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Image: The Parliament House.
Photographs: Reuters
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Pillai, who fled from Singapore and was on run to avoid a jail term in a criminal case there, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation from a five-star hotel here following a red corner notice issued against him.

He was lodged in Tihar Jail by a Delhi court during the pendency of extradition proceedings which was initiated at the request of the Singapore government.

Nina, in her petition, had alleged that the mandatory medical examination of her husband was not conducted at Tihar for even two days after his arrest.

"He was kept in deplorable conditions in Tihar Jail without access to proper medical treatment leading to a rapid deterioration of his health. . . .There was a failure by the jail staff to comply with the order of the learned magistrate to submit a medical report," the petition had said.



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