HC orders Rs 5 lakh compensation to victim of torture by BSF

SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has directed authorities to pay within three months Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a man from Abdiguzar here who had suffered hipbone fracture due to torture by Border Security Force in 1994.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi ordered the compensation following an enquiry report by Principal District and Sessions judge Srinagar.
The victim, Mohammad Amin Sofi was arrested on June 23, 1994 by the commandant of 30 Battalion BSF at Neelam Chowk here. After release, Sofi complained that he was subjected to severe torture in the BSF custody and suffered fractures in hipbone.
He subsequently filed a writ petition in high court and sought compensation of Rs 5 lakh for his medical treatment here as well as at All India institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi.
However, a single bench of the court dismissed Sofi’s petition for raising ‘disputed questions’ and termed the compensation sought by him as ‘unwarranted.’
Sofi, challenged the single bench order before the division bench through his counsel advocate Mian Qayoom.
The division bench directed Principal District and Sessions judge Srinagar to conduct an inquiry into the matter. The Sessions judge submitted the report on May 16, stating that Sofi had earlier suffered a fracture which was quite distinct from the one he suffered in 1994.
Allowing Sofi’s plea, the division bench observed that the Session judge’s report destabilizes very foundation on the basis of which the petition was dismissed.
The court directed commandant of 30 Battalion BSF to pay compensation to Sofi for causing the fracture after arresting and torturing him. The court also observed that the state government cannot escape from liability to pay the compensation.
Subsequently, it directed the state Chief Secretary to pay compensation to Sofi from Security Related Expenditure provided by the government of India. In absence of the availability of such funds, the division bench said, the government will mobilize own source to pay compensation to Sofi.
“Let the amount be paid within three months from the date of judgment thereafter it will carry interest at the rate of 9 percent,” the court added.