Compensation of 3 lakhs for death of a Mizo juvenile
detainee is highly insensitive and inadequate

New Delhi: The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) termed the award of compensation of Rs. 300,000 by the National Human Rights Commission to the next of kin of 13-year-old child, Lalnunpuia who died as a result of torture in the Herald for Christ’s Children Home at Lungleng in Aizawl, Mizoram on 13 July 2009 (http://www.nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=7/16/1/09-10) as highly insensitive and inadequate. On 17 August 2010, the NHRC directed the State of Mizoram to pay the compensation.

"The award of Rs three lakhs to the next kin of Lalnunpuia smacks of insensitivity of the NHRC and the NHRC must award the same level of compensation for each case of violation of the right to life." - stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

The NHRC took up the case after it received a complaint from the ACHR on 3 August 2009 alleging torture of Lalnunpuia, son of Rinsanga of Chaltlang Lily in Aizawl, Mizoram by the officials of Herald for Christ’s Children Home for alleged disobedience, resulting in his death.

In its report to the NHRC, the Superintendent of Police (SP), Aizawl confirmed that the child died as a result of torture and that there were several injuries on the dead body. Based on the report of the SP, the NHRC issued a show cause notice, among others, asking the state government of Mizoram as to why monetary relief be not given to the next of kin of the deceased.

Replying to the show cause notice as to why monetary relief shall not be paid, the state government of Mizoram urged that the decision be deferred till the conclusion of the criminal trial.

The NHRC rejected the plea of the state government and directed it to pay Rs. 300,000 to the victim’s family. In its order the NHRC stated, “The plea made by the State Govt. is devoid of merit. The proceeding before this Commission is independent of any other proceeding which may be going on at any other forum. Prima-facie there is enough material to prove that the child was subjected to assault and the authorities of the Home failed in their duty to give adequate protection to the child. The State Govt. cannot therefore evade its liability to make monetary amends.”

“The award of compensation is not enough. Unless the culprits are prosecuted, torture and murder of the juveniles will continue to take place. The NHRC must therefore monitor the criminal trial of the accused responsible for murder of Lalnunpuia and ensure their prosecution." - further stated Mr Chakma.  [Ends]

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