Short Essay on Custodial Violence and Custodial Death



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It is mostly the poor and the downtrodden who are the victims. They are illegally detained and harassed in police custody for days without recording the arrest in order to avoid legal procedure. The public and press have become more vigilant regarding it. Hence the custodial death cases are now more frequently exposed and taken to court.

Even if the police record the arrest and custody of a victim, a death in the Police Station is made to look like a suicide or accident and the body is disposed of quickly with the connivance of the doctors.

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Records are manipulated to save the responsible police officers and sometimes even local politicians join the conspiracy. The relatives and friends of victim are unable to seek justice because of fear, poverty and ignorance.

Article 21 of the Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty and according to Article 22, no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed of the grounds of his arrest.

He has the right to consult the legal practitioner of his choice. Every arrestee or detente has to be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest.

The provisions of Article 13 also protect the suspects from third degree methods of police to extort confessions. The Indian Evidence Act also discourages forced confessions.

Section 24 says that, a confession made by an accused is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of confession appears to court to have been caused by any inducement, or threat. According to section 25 of the Evidence Act a confession made to a police officer is inadmissible.

Courts are intolerant of custodial violence and award heavy compensation to relatives in case of custodial torture or custodial death.

Rudal Shah Case (1983), Sebastian Hongray case (1989), and Nilabati Behera case in 1993 elaborate the point well enough. Moreover, social activists press and concerned citizens have joined hands against the police atrocities.

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