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CUSTODIAL DEATHS


BY-SHAIK LALBEE (Damodaram Sanjivayya National law University)


Custodial violence and deaths in prison are no recent phenomena. It's present from the past of our society. Despite many interventions in recent years, violence and ill-treatment remains widespread in India and continues to deprive thousands of people basic integrity. Custodial abuse has been so popular these days that it is taken for granted not just by the police and judiciary but also by civilians as standard police questioning procedure. As a consequence, the coverage of such egregious conduct is creating little more than a momentary panic in society. The legislative and procedural law structure in India includes clauses pertaining to protections capture, Imprisonment, torture in custody and other in custody offences.


CUSTODIAL DEATHS:

The term custody implies care and guardianship. It does not bear any mysterious signs of aggression during imprisonment, except though added to suggest detention or incarceration. No civilized law postulates custodial brutality – an immoral characteristic that springs from a twisted impulse to inflict pain because there is no prospect of retaliation; a futile show of dominance and physical force over the helpless individual, or a collective wrath of hypocritical thought. It is one of the greatest offenses of modern civilization, regulated by the rule of law and posing a significant challenge to an organized democratic community. Torture of detention is an affront to human integrity and a breach of the civil freedoms of the people.


Prisoners deserve civil dignity, and slavery in jail is a sign of failing to do justice to living human beings. All human freedoms are an enforceable law for a inmate, although limited by the condition of incarceration. Simply said, a person in detention, whether from the police or the courts, is going to die in detention. NHRC estimates indicate 894 fatalities in correctional detention in particular. The report, signed by the National Human Rights Commission's Joint Registrar (Law), reported that Uttar Pradesh leads a substantial gap on the death rated chart in judicial custody, with 204 deaths documented in the period between 1 January 2017 and 2 August 2017.Punjab preceded the state with 76 deaths and Bihar with 64 deaths. Needless to add a considerable amount of cases of custodial abuse go unreported. As in the case of those convicted, in a disproportionately vast percentage of situations they were all suspected of minor crimes, the perpetrators of custodial abuse are individuals from impoverished and disadvantaged parts of society with no political or financial resources. Political enmity, caste and political interests, and often pecuniary gains, are critical reasons for custodial accidents, rather than case review.


POLICE CUSTODY:

Deaths in police custody are often problematic and pose concerns of public trust as some deaths in detention are due to insufficient treatment at the right time, some deaths are due to incidents of public physical brutality, and some deaths remain suspicious. If an information/ complaint / report is provided by Police investigating a incident, police officer catches the offender who was active in the suspected crime to deter him from continuing performing the violent actions, these officer takes the defendant to the police department, named Police Custody. It is in reality a suspect's detention with the police in a facility at the police Station, to charge the offender. During this arrest, the police officer in charge of the case may interrogate the defendant and this incarceration will not last more than 24 hours. The officer in charge of the case is expected to bring the defendant to the correct judge within 24 hours; such 24 hours remove the period needed to drive from the police department to the trial.


Police violence represents a reluctance to enforce transparency systems by India's federal government and the state governments. Notwithstanding stringent protocols, the government are consistently unable to perform thorough inquiries and punish police personnel engaged in torture and ill-treatment of the detained. Police prosecutors also close cases which depend entirely on the testimony of the police officers involved.


JUDICIAL CUSTODY:

Our constitution has enshrined constitutional rights to grant our people those basic rights and freedoms, and many institutes are making a praiseworthy attempt to insure that the common man achieves and enjoys certain privileges. In the case of judicial custody, the accused is sent to jail (prison), where the police require permission from the prison authority for the purpose of investigation. So the deaths that arise in prison when in Judicial Custody are considered death in the context of judicial custody. Deaths in judicial custody are generally divided into two groups, Natural death and Unnatural death. In the event of accidental death, the SDM has the authority to hold a magisterial investigation under 176 Cr.Pc and there is no state payout under this situation. Unnatural incidents are classified under four sub-points: Suicide (309 IPC), Unnatural Death (304A IPC), Murder (302 IPC), and Medical Incompetence (304 IPC). For these cases the Judicial Magistrate under 176CrPc holds a magisterial enquiry and in any these instances the offenders are paid. In the event of death in prison, the SC / ST is given more compensation.

Following the guidelines, the Magisterial Enquiry in case of custodial death is conducted:

1. Magisterial investigation is carried out without any hesitation at the earliest available moment.

2. The magistrate of the enquiry will visit the location of incident and get to know the truth on the field. The enquiry officer will make an effort during the visit to the crime scene to locate potential witnesses that are known to have been present at the crime scene. Enquiry officer should trust them and try to keep their statements recorded. The reason offered as such should be examined carefully for its veracity or otherwise.

3. A general notification to notify witnesses involved with the investigation is given by the vernacular newspapers. The enquiry magistrate will insure that the knowledge reaches the victim's near relatives particularly to those involved. The victim's family will be granted a reasonable and equal chance, when documenting their comments.

4. The magisterial investigation will include the issues that arise.

  • Mortality conditions.

  • The nature and number of death-causing events.

  • Fatal trigger.

  • Every person believed to be liable for the death or accusation of foul play that occurs during the inquiry.

  • Act of contract / omission by civil officials leading to the death.

  • Suitability of medical care provided to the deceased.

5. The magistrate of enquiry will examine and check the following documents:

  • Statement of the Inquest

  • Post Mortem Report: it is evident that the Enquiry Officer will not examine the Post Mortem Report; there is no effort to make some conclusions as to the validity or otherwise of the conference. The PM study should be carefully analyzed; State FSL assistance should be provided where appropriate.

  • Research study on viscera

  • Research on historopathological review

  • Cause of death

  • MLC report / Prisoner's initial health screening report

  • History of medical treatment

  • Criminal case study / inquiry

  • The records of FIR / General Diary (GD) / some other applicable police record.

  • Ballistic inspection reports, if any, of weapons and cartridges alleged to have been used by the deceased in the incident.

  • Forensic check report of the deceased's hand wash.

  • Finger printing expert report on fingerprinting available on weapon allegedly used by the deceased.

6. The magistrate should examine family members and relatives of the deceased, eye witnesses who have information about the circumstances leading to death in custody, doctors who have conducted post mortem / treatment for the deceased, concerned police / prison officers, independent witnesses, co-prisoners and other relevant persons.


PRISONERS PROTECTION AND RIGHTS UNDER-TRIAL AGAINST CUSTODIAL TORTURE IN INDIA:

Torture is described as "Intense physical, mental and psychological pain, the main purpose of which is to compel someone to offer him some knowledge. It also involves melting down due to extreme physical discomfort and psychological undue strain. Torture is described as "intense physical, mental and psychological pain, the main purpose of which is to compel someone to offer him some knowledge. It also involves melting down due to extreme physical discomfort and psychological undue strain.


The accused's privileges start from the date of his detention. According to Article 22, the Constitution of India provides for the security of the accused individual to the degree that he has the right to be told of the cause for his detention, and that he must be brought before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours. Article 22(1) further specifies that a legal professional of his choosing shall have the freedom to sue and to be protected. A careful interpretation of Section. 167(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes it plain that the officer in control of the police station or the prosecuting officer should only seek remand where there is cause to suspect that the allegation or evidence is well-founded and it seems that the inquiry cannot be concluded within the twenty-four-hour span as stated in Section 57.


Consequently, the power of the Magistrate to grant remand is not mechanical and adequate grounds must survive if the Magistrate wishes to exercise his remand power. The same thing took place in Raj Pal Singh v. State of U.P, (1995) 70 FLR 1141, the case also said that the sheet of remand order need not look like, a judgment delivered after full trial, but the application of the main must be obvious. This is the privilege of the criminal to be put before a judge within 24 hours of his detention, minus the period spent from the place of imprisonment to the court for transportation. If no judicial magistrate is present immediately then he must be brought before an administrative magistrate who can remand him to be kept in jail for a period of 7 days in which he may be brought before a judicial magistrate.

The Central Bureau of Inquiry, Special Investigation Cell-I, Central Bureau Of Investigation V. Anupam J. Kulkarni, 1992 SCR (3) 158, dealt with the issue of arrest and incarceration in custody, held that the magistrate pursuant to S.167 (2) may allow the imprisonment of the accused in such custody as he considers fit but should not exceed fifteen days in the entirety. And the original detention does not reach fifteen days in the entirety. The custody could be police custody or judicial custody as the judge thinks fit. Quite important are the terms "specific detention" and "for a period not reaching fifteen days in the whole" It follows from a joint reading of S.167 (2) and (2A) that the Judicial Magistrate to whom the Executive Magistrate has referred the detained accused the order detention under certain custody, either police custody} or judicial custody under S.167 (2), for the remainder of the first fifteen days after the Executive Magistrate has deducted the duration of detention. The resulting arrest may not have been in judicial custody.


The other privilege given to the victim is a variant of the standards of natural justice and will require that the police continue with the prosecution as soon as practicable in order to inflict least pain to all involved parties. In the case of C. Elumalai V. State Of Tamil Nadu, 1985 SCR (1)1057, the court stated that "For a speedy trial, the prosecuting authorities must always take a timely measure to conclude their inquiries and file their final reports as required by the Code as soon as practicable.


In Nilabati Behera Alias Lalit V. State Of Orissa And Ors, 1993 SCR (2) 581, The Hon'ble Supreme Court confirmed that convicts, inmates or under-trials are not refused their constitutional rights under Article 21 of the Constitution and the prison authority is liable for ensuring that the individual in detention is not robbed of the right to existence. The state has the duty of protection, to ensure that nobody is denied the assurance of Article 21. The state must accept responsibility by paying compensation to a person's near and dear ones who have been robbed of their life by their agents' wrongful act.


CONCLUSION:

Human Rights are all human freedoms intrinsic and inalienable to the individual's life in society. Within the new millennium, it is the obligation and responsibility of the welfare state to preserve the interests of people by means of universal declaration. Constituent infrastructure as a whole always seeks to uphold civil rights. The Indian Constitution, 1950 according to part 3 on human freedoms. Both of such privileges was incompatible with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speaking retrospectively, there is a division of forces according to Montesque Theory in India. Accordingly, there are three branches of the administration, which play a critical role in every form of human rights security and preservation activities. There are administrative and judiciary legislative divisions. Beyond this, press is seen as the welfare state's fourth hand. The media are highlighting a lot of violations of citizens human rights in everyday life. Also in the case of those convicted, in an disproportionately vast majority of situations they were all suspected of minor crimes, the perpetrators of custodial abuse are individuals from impoverished and disadvantaged parts of society with no political or financial resources. Political enmity, caste and political interests, and often pecuniary gains, are essential reasons for custodial accidents, rather than case review.


REFERENCE:

  • www.lawjournalindia.com

  • www.legalservicesindia.com

  • www.manupatra.com

  • www.researchgate.com

  • www.lawjournalindia.com


[DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only. We have tried to include as much information as possible but there are chances that some important information may have been missed .It is NOT to be substituted for legal advice or taken as legal advice. The publishers of the this article shall not be liable for any act or omission based on this note].

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