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Home > News > PTI

Rs 3 lakh for spending 54 years in prison

January 09, 2006 22:18 IST
Last Updated: January 09, 2006 22:21 IST

The Supreme Courton Mondayawarded a compensation of Rs3 lakhs to a septugenarian from Assam, who, as an undertrial, spent 54 years in a mental asylum. It alsoordered the state goverment to conducta high-level inquiry into the whole issue.

Machal Lalung was arrested at the age of 23in 1951 under Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous injuries. However, he spent his life as an undertrial languishing in Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Mental Hospital, Tezpur before being released this year. Lalung belongs toMikir Chuburi village in Morigaon district of Assam.

Ironically, his case never came up for hearing even once in the last five decades. Moved by his story, the court had sought the factual position of the case from the Assam Government.

Perusing the materials placed before it, a Bench of Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice C K Thakker and Justice R V Raveendran directed thestate government to consitute a panel to file a preliminary report on the incident within two months.

The court said the inquiry will be conducted by a judicial officer nominated by the Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court and a secretary-level officer named by the state government.

The Bench said it will formulateguidelines after receiving report so that no citizen will have to suffer the plight undergone by 77-year old Lalung.

Discharging his bail bond, as Lalung spent more time languishing as anundertrial than the punishment prescribed in the statute for the alleged offence, the court, as an interim measure, also directed the Asssam Government to give him Rs 1,000 per month to meet his expenses and free treatment and medicine throughout his life in government hospitals.

The court further said out of the Rs3 lakh, which will be deposited by the state government ina post office or a nationalised bank in Lalung's name, only Rs1 lakh could be withdrawn.

A lettter was written to the Chief Justice of India on the whole incident and the Court had treated it as a petition. Advocate F I Chaudhary, a resident of Assam, had said he came to know about Lalung from a news-report and was willing to assist the Court or anybody who will come forward to take up his case.

"As a young lawyer, I believe, in complicated issues like this, the judiciary can only award this man a compensatory peace and give back his forgotten smile before he dies," the advocate had written in the letter.

© Copyright 2005 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: This is how our Apex works.

Nonchalantly. The awardee has to be grateful to the Apex in any case. Where are those Human Rights people ?

Posted by chanakya

Sub: Rs 3 lakhs for 54 yrs in jail

This is a groresque pervesrion of justice - the Indian justice system would be more appropriately called the "Injustice System". Not only is the present ...

Posted by labrea



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