SC upholds arrest of Maoist's wife, denies relief

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea made by Shubhashree Das alias Milli, an alleged wife of top Naxal leader Sabyasachi Panda, seeking compensation for her “illegal” detention in 2010.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar dismissed the appeal challenging the Orissa High Court order which had declined her request.

The petitioner contended she was arrested on the intervening night of January 14 and 15, 2010, at Bhubaneswar in a case of alleged seizure of Maoist literature and was produced before the judicial magistrate first class at Banapur on January 16 at 7 pm, well beyond 24 hours.

She claimed that the police did not take prior permission from the judicial magistrate before arresting her during the night.

The petitioner sought compensation, claiming that the manner of her arrest made not in terms of the procedure prescribed by law, was wholly unwarranted. Her detention was illegal and unauthorised as well since she had been produced before the court concerned, well beyond 24 hours of her arrest, Das contended.

However, the apex court did not find any merit in her plea, saying that the high court, in fact, personally verified the factual position from the case diary and concluded that she was arrested on January 15 at 3 pm.

The Bench also pointed out that the travel time between Bhubaneswar and Banapur is about three hours. That is why she was produced before the court at Banapur at 7 pm on January 16, it said.

“If the travel time is taken into consideration, it is apparent that it would be unjust for the appellant to contend, that she was produced before the court concerned well after 24 hours of her arrest,” the Bench said.

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