If Search & Seizure action violates human rights, officers personally liable to pay compensation

In Re Rajendra Singh (Bihar Human Rights Commission)

The income-tax department conducted search and seizure operations u/s 132 at the premises of the assessee wheninterrogation & recording of statement was conducted for more than 30 hours and till the odd hours of the night without any break or interval. The assessee filed a complaint alleging violation of human rights. HELD upholding the plea:

The Commission is of the view that the members of the raiding party may take their own time to conclude the search & seizure operations but such operations must be carried out keeping in view the basic human rights of the Individual. They have no right to cause physical and mental torture to him. If the officer-in-charge of the Interrogation/recording of statements wanted to continue with the process he should have stopped the same at the proper time and resumed it next morning. But continuing the process without any break or interval at odd hours up to 3:30 AM, forcing the applicant and/ or his family members to remain awake when it is time to sleep was torturous act which and can not be countenanced in a civilised society. It was violative of their rights relating to dignity of the individual and therefore violative of human rights.Even die-hard criminal offenders have certain human rights which can not be taken away. The applicant™s position was not worse than that. In the opinion of the Commission, the Income Tax Department should ensure that the search & seizure operations at large in future are carried out without violating one™s basic human rights.

The Department was asked to show-cause why the assessee should not be monetarily compensated from the salary of the concerned officials.


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