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Holding that even a prisoner has a right to live, the Delhi High Court Monday enhanced the compensation for the kin of a life convict who died while serving his term.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur while enhancing the compensation awarded to the prisoner who died in custody said: “Even though he was a life convict, that does not mean that he had no dreams.”

“His life mattered a lot to his family. Life is a glorious gift of creative intelligence,” the bench said.

Terming the state of affairs of jail as poor, the court said: “It is the duty of the state to ensure proper maintenance of jail and it is the government’s responsibility to take care of all prisoners.”

The court was hearing a case in which an inmate, Sunder, 34, died after he was allegedly beaten up.

Two Tihar Jail wardens were suspended and 200 additional CCTV cameras installed in prisons after his suspected custody death in February.

Terming the compensation as inadequate, the bench said: “A compensation of Rs.3 lakh is a must for the legal heirs of the convict.”

While disposing the case, the court directed the director general of prisons to give the compensation to Sunder’s wife, get a fixed deposit done and file a compliance report.

A first information report (FIR) in the case was registered with Hari Nagar police station after the high court’s intervention.

The bench had converted a letter sent by the law ministry, based on a complaint from the deceased’s brother Madan Kishore, into a public interest litigation and taken action on its own initiative.

Madan Kishore, also serving a life imprisonment, said that the family of the deceased was informed about his death Feb 13 but the incident happened Feb 2. Sunder succumbed to his injuries a week after the incident.

He claimed that Sunder was beaten up badly by two inmates with iron rods in the presence of two jail officials.

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