Isro spy case: SC awards Rs 50 lakh to ex-scientist

Isro spy case: SC awards Rs 50 lakh to ex-scientist

76-year-old former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan. (screen grab)

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation to former Isro scientist S Nambi Narayanan who faced “tremendous harassment and immeasurable anguish” for “malicious” prosecution in the 1994 fake spying case.

A bench of Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also appointed a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice D K Jain to suggest appropriate action against the erring police officials as they were responsible for causing a harrowing effect on the mind of the appellant.

The top court took recourse to public law remedy to grant compensation to Narayanan as he suffered “wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, humiliation and defamation”.

“There can be no scintilla of doubt that the appellant, a successful scientist having a national reputation, has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of the state police to arrest anyone and put him in police custody has made the appellant suffer the ignominy,” the bench said.

Though it was pointed out that a civil suit has been filed for compensation, the court said it would not debar the constitutional court to grant compensation.

Narayanan, an Isro scientist, was arrested on November 30, 1994, along with others, after two Maldivian women were apprehended by the Kerala police for allegedly having obtained certain secret documents.

As the CBI took over the probe, it filed a closure report stating the case was false. It also recommended action against police officials for serious lapses. The state government subsequently sought to withdraw the order entrusting the probe to the CBI, but the apex court quashed that notification.

Narayanan approached the top court seeking Rs 1 crore compensation and action against the police officials. The NHRC had earlier directed the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation.

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