Custodial Violence In India

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Author:- By Simarpreet Saluja

Bharti Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune


Custodial brutality basically means violence which took place during police custody or judicial custody. Torture and rape are the two other main kinds of custodial brutality besides death. These custodial brutalities are not the recent happenings. This can be traced in the past happenings too. And it is essential to note that despite number of legal provisions for the same, custodial brutality continues to occur. According to the table which has been mentioned below, National Human Right Commission is reported by the state government on the custodial death. It has also been mentioned that according to the National Human Right Commission during December 1993, occurrence of the custodial brutality which includes torture, rape, death etc must be reported by the State government, within the 24 hours of the incident, to the NHRC. Data regarding the custodial deaths should include a report of post-mortem, a report in the form of videography on the post-mortem report examination, an inquest report followed by a magisterial inquiry. The other 20% deaths during custody are occurred due to medical negligence or due to the violence occurred between the prisoners or suicidal deaths. Therefore, the main reasons for deaths in police custody are illness, torture, suicide or accident. Whereas deaths in judicial custody is primarily linked to the count of prison population throughout a given period of time. In May 2004, one of the serious problem which the Indian prisons were facing has been discussed in which it was concluded that the issue of human touch, is the problem of overcrowding. The overcrowding resulted into the deficiencies in primary services such as food quality, medical health check-up and so on which affects in so many ways to the prisoners. After taking the seriousness of the situation into consideration, it has been suggested that there is a great need for the custodial management where in the police personnel plays a very essential part. It is important that they must be trained properly for that matter pertaining to the human rights and management of prison. Medical and women personal should be available in prominent numbers in the prisons. According to the National Human Right Commission, the Human Rights cells which has been set up by the state government authorities must play proactive functions in enhancing the conditions in the prisons, together with the provision of Health and related centres. Accordingly, state government authorities must take up this subject on a priority basis.

Custodial Deaths Reported by the State Governments to the NHRC (1993-2001)

Source: National Human Rights Commission, Annual Report 2001-2002, Annexure 7, pp.360-61

The custodial brutality is a generic term which has a broad aspect and covered every type of torture, third degree method, harassment, any use of force which has not warranted by law or illegal detention or arrest which may not be legal or on the basis of insufficient grounds, usage of filthy languages, not permitting them to sleep, extorting confession under peer pressure and not allowing them to meet up with their family members and so on. The heinousness of this crime is that it is committed under the shield of authority, power and uniform under the circumference of the lock-up where the victim is totally helpless. The protection of a person from these kinds of brutality is a matter of deep concern for establishing a proper society.

Statutory provisions-

Under the Indian Penal Code Section 330, Section 331, and Section 348 were enacted to limit the tendency of the police man to Resort to brutality to draw out confessions etc. Under Indian Evidence Act, Section 25 and 26 whereas Section 76 of CrPC and Section 29 of the Police Act, 1861 were enacted to limit such brutality under police custody. However, despite of constitutional and statutory provisions stated in CrPC and the Indian Penal Code which aimed at protecting the personal liberty as well as the life of the citizens, the rising phenomenon of torture and police custody has been annoying. Experience suggests that the worst violations of Human Rights incidents usually took place during the period of case investigation wherein the police with the intention of extracting proof or confessions, often adopt the third degree charge which includes torture and strategies of arrest by either not collecting them or describing the deprivation of the liberty simply as "prolonged interrogation".

Any shape of torture or cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment, whether or not occurs at some stage of investigation coma interrogation or otherwise needs the severest condemnation. If the functionaries of the authorities end up as regulation-breakers it is bound to breed contempt for the law and no nation will allow that to occur. Custodial brutality can be both physical and intellectual. It is able to additionally encompass gross negligence or planned inactivity.

Reasons of Custodial Violence- Notwithstanding the reality that every segment of the society feels worried about custodial violence, over the time it has remained unabated. It seems to be on rise each year, in spite of the truth that rate of literacy has improved and the human beings have emerged as aware of their rights and obligations. The principle arm of the criminal justice system that compact with people in custody is police. It will, consequently, be necessary to find out illnesses, which govern this organization ensuing into abuse of people who are in their custody. In this part, a strive is made to discover as to what lies at the basis of the hassle of custodial violence. For this it's far important to take a look at the conditions under which police works and to discover their mode of operation in coping with the accused ones. The fundamental reasons for Custodial violence can be grouped in the following categories: - 1. work strain The police in India has to perform a tough and sensitive venture in view of the deteriorating law and order situation, riots, political turmoil, scholar unrest, terrorist activities, increasing phenomenon of bribery, corruption, tax evasion, violation of economic laws, smuggling and cash-laundering. A complete essential reason for providing a safeguard against the brutal behaviour of the police is stress. The resources of pressure are several, however basically they relate to performance or output beyond the narrow confines of police role, regardless of constraints on good enough performance. Policemen have to deal with crime and disorder not only on bits of paper but in the form of raw, immediately. This generates lot of pressure, both from the population and the government. In addition to the limitations of the system are the constraints arising out of its actual operation. The final results of police efforts as they result in deterioration of evidence and thereby reduces the chance of conviction in a court of law.

2. Greed for cash This is the most hateful reason for custodial torture and one which appears to be on the boom. At the extent of police station, some of policeman use brutality to extract money from suspects and innocent individuals. The legal scenario and the character of evidence facilitate the method of creating SHO very powerful and giving what he does an air of finality, which offers him the unintended authority to extract money and get away the corrective manner of supervision. The courts provide considerable significance to the FIR and what form of FIR is written depends on the policeman on duty. Every person offers the priority to wealth, they want money anyway, and that is mental condition of our primitive to higher society. For that wherein the Police system made chains from minister to police. Now a day police system is a way for generating money for officials and minister.

3. Lack of adequate training Lack of adequate training to the police officers, frequently bring about use of third-degree methods. The utterly insufficient trainings given to constables, the overall absence of any attention to the necessity for retaining temper, being civil and respectful to the general public, fending off brutality or harshness, are the elements which leads to violence.



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