Saheli v. Commissioner of Police, 1989, is the case where a 9 year old boy died after being beaten by the Indian Police. The Court directed a payment of Rs 75,000 to the mother of the deceased child and permitted the Delhi Administration to take appropriate steps for the recovery of the amount paid as compensation or part thereof from the officers responsible for this dastardly act.
This was among the path breaking judgments that allowed for compensation in the event of excesses by the lawless Indian police force.
The 9 year old was, Naresh, who succumbed to his injuries, sustained while clinging to his mother while she was being assaulted by the police. God knows if Naresh was clinging to her for protection or to protect her. The description of the event churned my stomach and months later, I was unable get over the assaulting of a woman and her child by the Indian police.
This is very personal to me as my sister faced intimidation and threats of other charges being filed against her by the SHO. For me the image of Kamlesh Kumari, the mother of the murdered 9 year old, and my sister have morphed into one.
How does one forgive something like this?
Here is an excerpt that details the incident:
“On November 14, 1987, Kamlesh Kumari was attacked by Shambu Dayal, his brother Prakash Chand accompanied by Lal Singh in civilian clothes and Sham Lal, Sub-Inspector in uniform accompanied by two others. They beat Kamlesh Kumari, tore her clothes and molested her. Her nine year old son clung to his mother to protect her when Lal Singh took him away and forcibly threw him on the floor. Lal Singh also asked Shambu Dayal to beat Naresh. Kamlesh Kumari was dragged away to the police station and a criminal case was imposed upon her of trespass. She was sent to Tihar Jail and her lawyer got her released on November 16, 1987. Kamlesh Kumari on her release came back and found that her child, Naresh was in a very bad condition. The children took shelter at a neighbour’s house and the neighbours had got local doctors to look after Naresh. On the advice of the doctors, Naresh was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on November 18, 1987. However, no medical legal case was registered. Kamlesh Kumari’s lawyer tried to get a medical legal case registered. At last medical legal case was registered on November 23, 1987 by the ACP, Patel Nagar at 11.30 p.m. In the FIR No. 143/87 the said ACP had written that she had said that no policeman had beaten her son although she had specifically named Lal Singh and others. On November 26, 1987, Naresh died in hospital”
Here is the pdf of the judgment: Saheli Vs Comm Of Police-1989