Court seeks original records from army on officer’s death

New Delhi, May 3: The Delhi High Court Thursday sought the original records from the Army on the investigation carried out by it into the death of an officer posted at Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla town in 2001.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw said: ‘Government of India shall produce original records leading to the investigation carried out by the army on the death of its officer in Baramulla.’

The court’s order came on a plea filed by the central government against the order of single judge which had awarded a compensation of Rs.10 lakh to the widow, claiming that the officer had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree on Sep 8, 2001 and the government should not be burdened with the amount.

Ajay Kumar Tyagi was found hanging from a tree. The report of the post-mortem, conducted Sep 9, 2001 at the government hospital in Srinagar, confirmed the cause of death as asphyxia due to hanging.

Tyagi’s wife, Sapna Tyagi, who claimed that her husband was murdered, moved an application in a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city seeking a police investigation in the unnatural death of her husband.

On the court’s order, a second post-mortem was conducted at Meerut and disclosed that left kidney of the deceased, taken out during the first post-mortem, was missing.

After the revelation, the army unit lodged an FIR on Sep 18 in Jammu and Kashmir. The Meerut court had, however, observed that the death of Tyagi was not attributable to military service

Alleging that her husband was murdered, Sapna challenged the Meerut court order and moved Delhi High Court, where single judge on 25 Sep, 2009 directed the government to pay Rs.10 lakh compensation to her for removal of kidney during the first post-mortem.

Censuring the doctor who had conducted the post-mortem, the single-bench said: ‘This faith is shattered by such instances where an organ is totally removed by the doctor who conducted the post-mortem. Had there been no second post-mortem, the absence of left kidney would have gone unnoticed and unknown to the petitioner (the deceased’s family).’

The government, challenging the single-judge order, said that the hospital and doctors concerned were not made parties before the court in the case before the single judge passed the order, so the government could not have been condemned without being heard.

It was also alleged by the government that FIR was registered in Kashmir, and it could not have been burdened with the payment of compensation unless and until the fact could be established that the army was either directly or indirectly responsible for the officer’s death.

The court would hear the matter next on May 17.