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Rishi ranjan @rishiranjan04
April 22, 2017 at 12:05 am
Custodial torture in India often come to light in the wake of deaths of persons convicted of an offence and under the custody of the police. These tortures have often gone unpunished with the victim scared of giving any statement against the police in fear of a future torture. India has witnessed quite a large number of deaths under custody but there have been no reforms as such to deter these custodial tortures.
The detainees are detained in the custody without following the required procedures laid under Code of Criminal procedure thus depriving the detainees of their fundamental rights under Article 20 and 21. As per the processes laid under the code of criminal procedure, the detainee has to be produced in front of the Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest but this seldom happens. Police, being a guardian of citizen, is supposed to grant those detained or arrested, a fair trial. However, this doesn’t happen in majority of the cases because of unawareness on part of the police as well unwillingness to do so. The required process of preparing a memo immediately after the arrest and getting it signed by an independent witness and countersigned by the person arrested, is hardly followed. This is all result of inadequate laws to hold police accountable as well as lack of information on part of the arrested persons and his kin.
SC has often pointed these custodial tortures as violation of human rights and National human rights commission has suggested its involvement to tackle this issue.
Following steps might help tackle the menace of custodial torture:
1) For every arrest that is done, police has to inform the magistrate through an online portal to be monitored on a daily basis by the respective police station.
2) The magistrate could initiate a post-arrest medical check up of the arrested person through an independent doctor or hospital and have the report updated on the portal, signed by the medical professional conducting it and countersigned by the Inspector-in charge of the police station.
3) The TAT for producing the arrested person in front of the Magistrate could be monitored through the online portal from the time at which the first information of the arrest was given to the magistrate.
4) Any autopsy or physical examination of the patient has to be filmed and recorded online.
5) During the first few hours of arrest, there should be an independent examination of the arrested person by the office of the judicial magistrate to have a first hand information about the treatment being meted out to him in the custody.
6) There needs to be strict laws in place to deter police from flouting the rules laid down under code of criminal procedure. The constables and Station in charges need to be sensitised about the need to follow these rules and the possible punishments in case of any flouting of rules.
The news of custodial torture is what also deters the good samaritans from approaching police stations as witnesses. The judiciary at the district level needs to closely monitor the detentions within its purview and call for independent agencies or representatives of NHRC to be in touch with the kins of the arrested person to ensure that he is given a fair trial.