Lawstreet Journal

Jayaraj-Bennix Deaths in Custody: Madras HC Takes Action Against 3 Police Officers Obstructing Investigation by the Magistrate

Lawstreet Journal 30 Jun 2020 9:45pm

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary Jayaraj-Bennix Deaths in Custody: Madras HC Takes Action Against 3 Police Officers Obstructing Investigation by the Magistrate

On Monday, 29th June 2020, the Madras HC, Madurai Bench instituted suo moto contempt proceedings against three police officers for obstructing Judicial Magistrate's HC-ordered inquiry into the horrific custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix in Tamil Nadu's Sathankulam city.

The action against the Court was based on the Judicial Magistrate's investigation, Kovilpatti against Thoothukudi ASP D Kumar, DSP C Prathapan, and Police Constable Mahajan.

A bench comprising Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi observed "District Police administration are doing everything within their command to prevent the learned Magistrate from proceedings with the inquiry".

"The report shows that Mr. D Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin and Mr. C Prathapan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tuticorin made themselves available in the Sathankulam police station and in their very presence, the other policemen were taking videos of the Magisterial proceedings. The policemen were not giving the records called for by the learned Magistrate and it is seen that one of them, viz, Mahajan, Police Constable, Sathankulam Police Station, had made a very disparaging remark in Tamil to the learned Magistrate", the bench observed.

The Court said the Magistrate's report was adequate to recognize Criminal Contempt under Section 15(1) read against the said officers under Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

It may be noted that the Magistrate is conducting the inquiry as ordered by the High Court on 26th June 2020, in a suo moto case taken regarding the deaths of the custodian. 

The HC also noted that a free and fair investigation is not possible without the transfer of the said officers and the Sathankulam police station staff.

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Tagged: Madras High Court   Jeyaraj-Bennix  
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