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Custodial Death

Updated on July 20, 2020




Complaint of police excess and torture of suspects in police custody have been made in the past. Such complaints have assumed wider dimension, as the torture deaths has increased to an alarming proportion. Preventing torture in custody and ensuring strict compliance of its guideline in custodial deaths is one of the important agenda of NHRC’s list. A sudden and unexpected death in police custody rise many question on enforcement agencies. Delay in providing basis health care is the most commonest allegations by the relative to the jail authority. As there was law made by our honourable supreme court on health checkup in every 48 hrs. India also have to make an anti torture law like US. There is some guideline made by the SC but the question is “are they following it”. A report says “that 5 custodial deaths occur every day in India.


The motto of National Human Right Commission is “Serve Bhavantu Sukhinah”. Happiness and health for all is sought to be achieved for human beings and their dignity is cardinal.

The NIRBHAYA CASE 16 December 2012. One of the accused Ram Singh died in the police custody from possible suicide on march 11 2013. According to the report published, police says that he hangs himself but defense lawyer and family alleged the officer for murder. The reason to recall this case was when an accused of rap and murder meet with the custodial death. No one care for the reason of his death. Just created a mindset if he is an accused of rap and murder then he should meet with his death no matter with procedure.

Why we forget he was also a human being and with same nationality. The right we enjoying he also accrues the same rights .So why his rights are void, just because if his deed, let’s assume he was the culprit, so who got the power to punish him, the police or the SC. There is several case of custodial death, where the reason of death was using 3rd degree in interrogation. The person no matter accuse or convicted they have their human rights and the SC have only in power to punish. There is a bad impact of movies on our society as they show in movies that “a person is accused of rap or murder so he is bad guy he needs to die and if the court is taking time in giving the final judgment the police officer kills him and created a fake scenario of encounter and they even got save from the judicial review . They show court have low power so the police has taken the responsibility to punish the bad once but in reality there is a power above all laws THE SUPREME COURT . They have the power to construct, abolish or to amend any law, but some the police officer forgot that and started misusing their power.


In US after the death of George Floyd a massive protest has taken over the street. The result of the protest is that the Congress introduces a Police Reform Bill and National Database for the police misconducts. Likely to this India also talk about the anti-torture bill in 2010. First UN Convention raises their voice against torture in 1975. As India is member of UN and signatory. So to apply any law made by UN in India has to pass it from all houses of parliament. So Prevention of Torture Bill 2010 was presented in Lok Sabha. In this bill any public servant commits torture to the public or 3rd party. This bill broadly explain the meaning of torture and suggested suitable punishment and compensation it vary case to case. The bill was send to Rajya Sabha from Lok Sabha and from Rajya Sabha to Rajya Sabha select committee.

The committee suggested

•Expand the definition of torture

•Torture against women and child should have severe punishment

•Setup for independent authority to watch such violence

Several times the bill was omitted and sends for approval to Rajya Sabha. But to approve this bill government has to amend some of the other laws

•Indian Penal Court

•Indian Evidence Act

•Criminal Procedure Code


Case 1: Rudal Shah Vs State of Bihar 1983

In this case petitioner Rudal Shah got illegal imprisonment for 14 years. After using writ habeas corpus and make immediate release. This is the first case where SC decided when any persons rights violated by the state then must be compensate.

Case 2 Shali Vs Commissioner of Police 1983

In this case police and zamindar misbehave with a women and her 9 year child due to which 9 yrs child died. So SC compensate mother with Rs 75000. Ion this case SC give an option to Delhi administration to recover the amount from the culprit police officer.

Case 3 DK Basu Vs State of West Bengal 1997

In this case SC recognizing custodial violence and police torture given a statement that it is a attack on human dignity and given some guideline.


1.The police should carry clear identification and name tags with their designation.

2.Arrest Memo : All detail of arrest maintained.

3.Police should inform the family of the arrest person and give all the necessary detail of arrest.

4.Inspection memo : Mention all the previous major and minor injury before arrest and must be sign by both arrestee and police office.

5.Medical checkup after every 48 hrs and kept in record.

6.All the copies is send to the magistrate.

7.Arrest person can meet their lawyer during interrogation.

8.Every state must have Police Control Room where all the document of arrest must be kept.


1.Right to Legal AID.

2.Right to be presented before the nearest magistrate within 24 hrs.

3.Right to know the grounds of arrest.

4.Right to be Silent/Right against self incrimination.

5.Bailable offence (less serious)_ Right to be released on bail.

6.A person cannot be illegally detained.

7.In case of a women, she cannot be arrest after sundown and before sunrise.

8.Right to inform some one in family.


After knowing all the fact and necessary detail ,we can say that if anyone has committed any illegal activity and got arrested for that ,so the police have duty to protect the dignity of that person till the court give any verdict for him and if the court is taking time for move to any final decision till that that person must be keep save in the custody. And police doesn’t have any right to make his own decision.

At last I want to say that all person should know about their human right that are give to all person by our HONOURABLE SUPREME COURT.


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