Compensatory Jurisprudence of Constitutional Courts VI: S. Nambi Narayanan

ABCThe exposé of facts very succinctly put is, on 21.10.1994, Mariam Rasheeda, a Maldivian National, was arrested and sent to judicial custody. During interrogation, she made certain confessions alleging, certain official secrets and documents of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had been leaked out by scientists of ISRO.

On 30.11.1994, Appellant-S. Nambi Narayanan was arrested. After investigation, CBI submitted a report before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Ernakulam stating, evidence collected indicated allegations of espionage against scientists at ISRO, including Appellant, were not proved and were false. Accused were discharged.

On 27.06.1996, State Government of Kerala, decided to conduct a re-investigation. The notification for re-investigation, though challenged before High Court of Kerala, was upheld. Aggrieved-Appellant moved SC.

“Appellant was arrested and he suffered custody for almost 50 days. His arrest has been seriously criticized in closure report of CBI. The harassment and mental torture faced is obvious. The criminal law was set in motion without any basis. The liberty and dignity of Appellant which are basic to his human rights were jeopardized as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, he was compelled to face cynical abhorrence. This situation invites grant of compensation for violation of fundamental right envisaged under Article 21. Reputation of an individual is an insegregable facet of his right to life with dignity. There can be no scintilla of doubt, a successful scientist having national reputation has been compelled to undergo immense humiliation. The lackadaisical attitude of State Police to arrest anyone and put him in Police custody has made Appellant suffer the ignominy. The dignity of a person gets shocked when psycho-pathological treatment is meted out to him.

In instant case, suitable compensation has to be awarded. We think it appropriate to direct State of Kerala to pay a sum of Rs. 50 Lakhs towards compensation to Appellant within 8 weeks.”

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, S. Nambi Narayanan, [Civil Appeal Nos. 6637-6638 of 2018].