The recent death in Tamil Nadu of a father and his son, allegedly due to custodial death has amplified the already sparked anger across the country. Human Rights organizations have been actively covering the reports, and even previous sealed cases are getting unveiled after the hype for justice in India.
Types of custodial violence: – There are various methods to bring or commit custodial violence which is applied to bring the desired results by the government agencies.
To break the confidence and morale of the victim following methods are used: –
- By communication techniques in which the victim is given the wrong information and is tortured mentally.
- By compulsion or coercion where the victim is compelled or coerced to perform activities or to witness actions that torture him mentally.
- By depriving the victim of the basic needs like water, food, sleep, and other toilet facilities which result in disorientation and confusion.
- Threats and humiliations which are directed towards persons in custody or their family members or friends.
Physical violence has surpassed every level in the custodies of Indian officials: –
- Causing disfiguration and exhaustion
- Causing torture to such an extent that the victim feels fear of immediate death.
- Forcing the victim to sleep on the damp floor.
- Making the children stay naked in extremely cold weather or under the sun in temperature for more than 30-degrees.
- Scratches and cuts are made on different parts of the body with sharp objects.
- Uses of irritants like chill powder, table salts, etc. are applied on delicate parts or on open wounds.
Sexual violence has a great social and psychological impact on the minds of its victims. They start it with verbal sexual abuse and humiliation targeting the victim’s dignity. Further, it results into rape and sodomy.
Various methods of torture
- Beating on the spine
- Beating with canes on the bare soles of the feet
- Beating with rifle butts
- Burning with lighted cigarettes and candle flames
- Denial of medical treatment
- Forcible extraction of teeth
- Forcible lying the victim nude on ice slabs
- Inserting electric wires into body crevices
- Insertion of metal nails under toenails
- Public flogging
- Submersion in water
- The victim is crushed under heavy rollers
- The victim is stabbed with sharp instruments
Custodial death – Who is responsible?
The manner in which men in uniform have legalized themselves to treat the convicted criminals is showing a danger sign when it comes to violation of Human Rights. The number of deaths during custody bears testimony of the cruelty and brutality from the official’s side.
A total of 1,731 people died in custody in India during 2019. This works out to almost five such deaths daily, according to a report by a rights group released on Friday.
India’s Annual Report on Torture-2019 said – 1,606 of the deaths happened in judicial custody and 125 in police custody.
“Out of the 125 deaths in police custody, Uttar Pradesh scores 14 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu and Punjab with 11 deaths each and Bihar with 10 deaths,” said the report published by the National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT).
Of the 125 cases in police custody, 93 persons (74.4%) died due to alleged torture or foul play, while 24 (19.2%) died under suspicious circumstances in which the police cited suicide (16), illness (7) and injuries (1). The reasons for the custodial death of five others (4%) were unknown, the report said.
The NCAT’s analysis also revealed 75 (60%) of these 125 belonged to the poor and marginalized communities. They included 13 from Dalit and Tribal communities and 15 were Muslims, while 35 were picked up for petty crimes. Three of them were farmers, two security guards, two drivers, a labourer, a rag picker, and a refugee.
However, in the case of women, torture even raises to sexual violence. Most of the times, those women belong to the weaker sections of the society.
Now, the questions should be pointed out towards the policemen who were shouldered with the responsibilities of maintaining law and order. On its contrary, they went on to break laws and transcended every level in torturing the convicts.
Protection Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:
The code of criminal procedure, 1973 contains provisions intended to operate as a safeguard against custodial torture.
- Section 49 provides that the person arrested shall not be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape.
- Section 57 provides that no police officer shall detail in custody a person arrested without a warrant for a longer period than under all circumstances of the case is reasonable and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of a magistrate under section 167, exceed 24 hours exclusively of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate. Provision of the section 57 is mandatory.
- Section 57A provides that when a person arrested without a warrant is produced before the magistrate, the magistrate shall, by inquiries to be made from the arrested person satisfy himself that the provision of sections 56 and 57, have been complied with and shall also enquire and record the time and date of arrest.
- Section 163 provides that,
(1) No police officer or other person in authority shall offer or make, or cause to be offered, or make, any such inducement, threat or promise as is mentioned in section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
(2) But no police officer or person shall prevent, by any caution or otherwise, any person from making in the course of any investigation under this chapter any statement which he may be disposed to make of his own free will:
Provided that nothing in this sub section shall affect the provisions of sub section (4) of section164
- Section 164(4) provides that, any such confession shall be recorded in the manner provided in section 281 for recording the examining of an accused person and shall be signed by the person making the confession, and the Magistrate shall make a memorandum at the foot of such record to the following effect:- I have explained to name that he is not bound to make a confession and that, if he does so, any confession he may make may be used as evidence against him and I believe that this confession was voluntarily made. It was taken in my presence and hearing, and was read over to the person making it and admitted by him to be correct, and it contains a full and true account of the statement made by him.