The Supreme Court of India on September 14, 2018, appointed a three-member panel headed by D.K. Jain, a former judge of the court to probe the “harrowing” arrest and alleged torture of former space scientist Nambi Narayanan in the ‘ISRO spy scandal’ that turned out to be fake.
A three-judge Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra
took note of the “mental cruelty” suffered by Mr. Narayanan and awarded him Rs. 50 lakh compensation. The panel appointed by the apex court will have one officer each from Central and Kerala governments. The panel will explore “ways and means” to bring justice to the former space scientist besides probing the officers who caused the “harrowing” incidents. The Centre would take care of the panel’s facilities and expenses.
Mr. Narayanan, who is in his seventies, had approached the apex court after a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court refused his plea. In his petition, Mr. Narayanan contended that the High Court “failed to appreciate the real undercurrent that passed through the mind of the apex court, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC
) and the single judge of the High Court in their verdict and on untenable reasons, quashed the order of the single judge.” Challenging the legality of the Kerala High Court Division Bench order, Mr. Narayanan said it was “bad in law”. He argued that the order “would only encourage the unlawful action and mindset on the part of the Kerala police to harass innocent persons for extraneous considerations.” Earlier, in 1998, the apex court directed the State government to pay cost of Rs. 1 lakh to Mr. Narayanan who was discharged in the case. Later, Mr. Narayanan approached the NHRC claiming compensation against the State government for the “mental agony and torture” suffered by him. On March 14, 2001, NHRC awarded him an interim compensation of Rs. 10 lakh.