Babita Devi's husband was found dead a day after taken into police custody; her fight for justice continues


Babita Devi & others v. State of Jharkhand & others [W.P. (Cr.) 48 of 2017] Jharkhand High Court The criminal writ petition was filed by Babita Devi, widow of Umesh Singh seeking direction upon the respondents to hand over the investigation to CBI along with suspension and arrest of accused police officers and compensation to the victims. The residents of Ghanuadih, Jharia were protesting against heavy blasting in coal mines due to which the stones were falling on their houses thus damaging it. The manager of the coal mining company (BCCL) lodged a case against the protesters/residents and named Umesh Singh (Deceased) in FIR as he was vocal and leading the protesters. He was taken by the police from his place of residence and the next morning, his dead body was found near Ghanudih Joria (Small River) with multiple bodily injuries. The lock up in which he was kept had his shirt and blood stains all over the place and thereafter Babita Devi filed an F.I.R against the police officials and the manager of the mining company. A petition before Hon’ble Principal District & Session Judge quoting relevant provisions of law for a judicial enquiry into the incident was filed by the district network lawyer and on the basis of the enquiry report Hon’ble Principal District and Session Judge, Dhanbad lodged a Human Rights Case in which he requested to recommend the matter to State Human Rights Commission for compensation but unfortunately the Commission was defunct on completion of tenure of chairperson and members. The writ has now been moved in the Jharkhand High Court and the State has filed a counter affidavit.