Custodial violence

By Grishma Shetty at Lexcliq


Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guaranteed the fundamental right of the right to life and personal liberty. But the main doubt in the mind of people is that there is any protection given to the fundamental right of the prisoners and all those people who are in police custody. There are many cases where the police misuse their sovereign power while using the method of physical violence as a part of the interrogation. Nowadays the crime committed by the police with the people in the police custody takes a hype and custodial crime gained so much importance these days.

Torture on trend:

  1. According to India annual report of torture 2019 was reported in total of 1,731 people have died while they were in police custody. Further, it was revealed that out of these 1,731 deaths there was a total of 1,606 people died in judicial custody.
  2. The report further stated that under the police or judicial custody there is a certain number of deaths due to illness or mental stress but there are also certain cases where the death was the result of the police torture in the 3- degree interrogation.
  3. Also, there are many situations when a women who is under interrogation or in custody becomes the victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Even there are certain rape cases that were also reported.
  4. Also, the juvenile who is in custody under the juvenile justice act, 2000 face the torture of police. Police even behave insensitively with such children and all these acts of police officers would miserably fail the purpose and intention of the juvenile justice act, 2000.

Need for installation of CCTV Camera:

The victims of the torture done by the police officers under the police custody came into the limelight when a news was highlighted that there was the death of individuals who were under the custody of Jeyraj and Bennicks in Tamil nadu. This incident depicts custodial brutality. The apex added clarity over certain aspects by establishing the criteria for the police accountability for such an incident, the right of the victims of such an incident and judicial transparency. Supreme Court order on installation of CCTV cameras in the police station and all jails.


Jeyraj and Bennicks

P Jeyraj 58 years old and his son Bennicks 38 years old were taken into police custody after allegedly keeping their shop open during lockdown past the permitted hours. They were manhandled on spot and taken to the police station where they were tortured. Both died after two days. The incident sparked widespread outrage on social media which led the local courts to launch an investigation. The Court ruled that the officers involved in the incident would be charged with murder.

Nilabati Behera

In this case the mother of the deceased complained that her son died in the custody of Odisha (then Orissa) Police after being beaten up and claimed compensation for violation of her son’s fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court held the State responsible for violation of fundamental rights and ordered for criminal proceedings against the responsible police officers. More importantly, it ordered that compensation of Rs. 1.50 lakh be paid to the family of the deceased. Before this case, there was no structured formulation to grant compensation on cases of custodial death.

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