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Lady magistrate ordered to pay Rs one lakh as compensation

Chennai: Madras High Court, in a unique verdict of its kind, ordered a lady magistrate of Dharampuri to pay Rs one lakh as compensation to a lady plaintiff for wrongly putting her into custody, thereby violating her fundamental rights. The High Court ruled that the action of the lady magistrate was not right.

This Court also ordered a departmental enquiry against the lady magistrate. Justice Vinod K. Sharma of the High Court also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on her for filing a false affidavit in which she had stated that she had not ordered the (lady) plaintiff to be sent to jail. Justice Sharma also said in his verdict that the action of Dharampuri magistrate was unjust.

The knowledge about her carelessness and unjust verdict had come to light in October 2000 but instead of rectifying her mistake she (lady magistrate) continued treating the plaintiff like an accused and subsequently released her on bail. The H C judge further said that the (lady) magistrate, because of her irresponsible action deprived the applicant / plaintiff of her freedom, thus violating her fundamental rights.

The plaintiff Velin Kuny of Kola Patti village in Tamil Nadu said that she was in love with one John Kennedy and he had promised to marry her. When she became pregnant he (Kennedy) refused to marry her and instead, advised abortion. She filed a complaint against him at the police station after which the matter came up before the magistrate. Kennedy was arrested and sent to judicial custody on 16 October 2000.

Next day both Kennedy and Velin Kuny were medically examined, after which Kennedy was remanded to custody but the plaintiff (Kuny) was presented before the judicial magistrate who, without any enquiry, ordered her to be sent to judicial custody. She (plaintiff) did not know on what ground she was sent to custody. After keeping her in custody for three days, she was granted bail.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2013 on page no. 15

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