Compensatory Jurisprudence of Constitutional Courts I: The Case of Ram Lakhan Singh

Dr. Ram Lakhan Singh, an incumbent of Indian Forest Service (1969 Batch, U.P. Cadre), rendered services to the Respondent State and Government of India in various positions for about 35 years till his retirement. The 2004 State Government got him arrested in a fake case. Dr. Singh spent 11 days in jail and fought a legal battle for 10 years.

The SC in Dr. Ram Lakhan Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 933 of 2014] held, though there is no material indicating the involvement of the Chief Minister in initiating the proceedings against the Petitioner, it remains true that the initiation of vigilance proceedings and statements made before the High Court by officers of the Respondent State led to the arrest of the Petitioner causing great loss to him.

Until and unless we maintain a fine balance between prosecuting a guilty officer and protecting an innocent officer from vexatious, frivolous and mala fide prosecution, it would be very difficult for the public servant to discharge his duties in free and fair manner… This Court time and again has extended assurance to the honest and sincere officers to perform their duty in a free and fair manner towards achieving a better society… Normally, this Court is reluctant in determining or granting any compensation while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution… however, keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case and taking into consideration the age and trauma suffered by the Petitioner… we direct the State of Uttar Pradesh to pay a lump sum of Rs.10 lakhs to the Petitioner within a period of three months towards compensation.”

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