6 victims of demolition get compensation of Rs. 30 lakhs from Assam government

Safiqul Islam was beaten to death while in custody, and houses were bulldozed by the police in May 2022. Compensation was provided by the government after Gauhati High Court intervened suo moto against the illegal actions by the police

In a significant development in the Nagaon custodial death and demolition case, the Assam government sanctioned compensation of Rs. 30 Lakhs to the victims of illegal demolition. The government has also sanctioned compensation of Rs. 2.5 lakh for the family of Safiqul Islam, who died while in custody.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Suman Shyam of the Gauhati High Court while hearing the suo moto petition, granted a weeks’ time to the government to provide compensation to the dependent of the person who died while in custody and, whose houses were demolished by the police.

Brief Background of the case:

On May 21, 2022, Safiqul Islam (39) a local fish seller from the Salnabari area of Nagaon district in Assam was arrested by the police in a drinking case and subsequently taken to the Batadrawa Police Station. Family of Safiqul claims that the police demanded Rs 10, 000 as a bribe for his release. His family failed to secure the money immediately. Safiqul’s wife somehow arranged for the money but before she could reach the police, he was beaten to death while in custody.

On the same day in evening, a crowd set fire to the Batadrawa police station in protest of the custodial death of Safiqul Islam. A day after the police station was burnt down, the authorities illegally demolished the houses of the Safiqul and his relatives with a bulldozer.

In January, 2023, the Assam government notified that the accused official’s houses would be demolished and proper action would be taken against them.

The Gauhati High Court has granted the Finance Department of Assam a week’s time to inform the court when compensation will be paid, to those whose house were demolished by Assam Police.

It was informed to the court, by the counsel representing the Home and Political (A) Department, Government of Assam that the compensation amount had been determined and the matter had been referred to the Finance Department for processing.

The Gauhati High Court’s Suo Moto Action on Illegal Demolition:

On June 30, 2022, the division bench of then Chief Justice RM Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saika have taken suo moto cognizance over the house bulldozed by the police personnel of Batadrawa Police Station.

On January 3, 2023, the bench directed the Assam government to take appropriate decision for compensating the persons affected by the illegal action of the officer and asked to produce report before the court.

On November 8, 2023, Senior Counsel for Assam submitted before the court that the One-Man Enquiry Committee constituted to enquire into the matter and sought 4 weeks’ time for submission of the enquiry report.

On December 12, 2023, the Assam government further prayed for three weeks’ time to submit the enquiry report, and the same was allowed by the court.

On January 12, 2024, the Assam Government produced a communication dated 10.01.2024 written by the Joint Secretary to the Government of Assam wherein it is stated that One Man enquiry Committee has submitted the inquiry report to the Government in the Home & Political Department on 04.01.2024. The Government further prayed for four weeks’ time to file an updated status report over the matter and the same allowed by the court.

On February 16, 2024, the government sought again a weeks’ time to submit the One-Man Committee report and the court also asked the government to inform the court about the measures taken by the State Government in response to the findings of the Committee report.

On April 4, 2024, the Assam Government submitted that the report submitted by the One-Man Enquiry Committee, the State Government has taken up the matter and the Political (A) Department of the Government of Assam has written a letter to the Secretary of the Government of Assam, Revenue & Disaster Management Department to assess the loss on account of demolition of houses of 6(six) persons. It is submitted that as soon as the assessment report is submitted, the compensation would be paid to the affected persons.

On May 3, 2024, the bench of acting Chief Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Suman Shyam granted a week’s time to Assam State’s Finance Department to apprise the court on when the compensation would be paid, to those whose houses at Batadrava in Nagaon district in Assam were demolished by Assam Police in May, 2022.

Wife of the person who died in custody, filed a Writ Petition:

The writ petition (civil) No. 239 of 2024 was filed by Rashida Khatun, wife of Late Safiqul Islam (died in police custody) for seeking appropriate compensation from the Assam government over the custodial death of her husband in May, 2022.

On May 3, 2024, the division bench of High Court clubbed the Writ Petition (C) No. 239 with suo moto (PIL) No. 3 of 2022 and directed the state government to respond to why interim compensation should not be granted to the petitioner during the pendency of this writ petition.

Order of the High Court dated 03.05.2024 can be read here:

Compensation provided by the Assam Government:

On May 22, 2024, the Assam government submitted before the High Court that Nagaon Superintendent of Police paid the compensation money to the five families. The government informed that it will pay 2.5 lakh to the family of Safiqul Islam, who died in custody. He said that Islam’s family had not yet produced a next of kin certificate and authorities would process the payment once they obtain the document.

The counsel informed the court that Rs 10 lakh each was provided to Imamul Haque and Mojibur Rahman for the demolition of their concrete houses. Rs. 2.5 lakh was paid for each makeshift house demolished. Rehman was paid Rs 12.5 lakh as he had lost both a concrete and a makeshift house. They further added that, that the state government has sanctioned compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh for the family of Islam.

“This is a clear case of vicarious liability of the state,” the court observed.

CJP moved Gauhati High Court for aids victims of Assam police firing:

In CJP’s endeavour to bring justice to those rendered homeless in Assam during the eviction and to those who lost their family members to the police firing and brute action, we have filed two separate writ petitions in the Gauhati High Court.

One in the matter of the death of 12-year-old Sheikh Farid who fell victim to indiscriminate police firing at the eviction site, and another in the incident where a farmer, Maynal Haque, whose house was being forcefully demolished, and was shot at by the police.

The High Court had issued notice to the state government of Assam on the first petition (Sheikh Farid) October 25, 2021 and on the writ petition of the second victim (Maynal Haque) on November 1, 2021.

In both petitions, the family members of the victims are the petitioners, hoping that some justice is delivered to them. While Farid’s family lost a young child, Haque’s family lost the breadwinner leaving his only three young children without a father, a grieving widow, as well as his elderly parents childless.

CJP claimed that the petition underscores that the law is settled, that even trespassers cannot be evicted from any land without following the due process of law, which was, however, violated by use of brute force of the state police machinery in a period when people are beleaguered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both petitions point out that as per section 129 of the Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC) the police are to use civil force to disperse an assembly and under section 130, it is stipulated that “a police officer while seeking to disperse any assembly shall use as little force, and do as little injury to person and property, as may be consistent with dispersing the assembly and arresting and detaining such persons.”

Further, even under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 99, a public servant cannot act in defence unless there is apprehension of death or grievous hurt. The petition also points out various provisions of the Assam Police Manual which prescribes how to deal with assemblies and when can firearms be used.

Also, international conventions such as Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials states that firearms should be used only in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.

Finally, in both cases, right to life under Article 21 of both the victims was violated and the deaths were caused in clear violation of the accepted norms and standard under the various laws and also the norms accepted under the international standards.

The Writ Petitions filed by CJP can be read here:



The order of the high court is yet to come, after final disposal of the petitions.


Acquiring land without due procedure would be outside the authority of law, Supreme Court lays down 7 Constitutional tests for land acquisition

Report: 294 houses demolished on a daily basis in 2023 in India

Shocking: Delhi Police cannot control massive mob violence



Related Articles