Custodial death: Metropolitan court gets HC rap

The chief metropolitan magistrate got a rap from the Gujarat high court for his “casual” approach as the head of the institution towards conducting an inquiry into a custodial death case.
Last week, Justice R P Dholaria ordered the chief metropolitan magistrate to personally conclude the inquiry into the custodial death case and submit his report within 15 days to the HC. The HC was upset because its order passed in March for completion of the inquiry was not complied with by the metropolitan court.
In this case, one Umang alias Sonu Chhatral died in Sabarmati jail. His autopsy suggested he had 11 ante-mortem injuries. His brother Pritesh filed a complaint seeking an inquiry into the death, accusing Shahibaug police of torturing Sonu in custody in November 2016.
As the judicial inquiry into the custodial death did not make any headway for nearly three years, Pritesh Chhatral moved the high court through advocate N M Kapadia, seeking directions to the metropolitan court to do the needful at the earliest.
On March 5, the HC sought a report from the metropolitan court, which tendered a report prepared on March 19. After perusing the report, the HC said, “…it appears that the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has adopted casual approach in spite of he being a head of the Institution and he could not comply with the order dated 05.03.2020 passed by this Court.”
The HC has now ordered the chief metropolitan magistrate to personally inquire and conclude proceeding within 15 days and place a report before the HC.
A further hearing has been posted for September 27.

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