Edit Article | Posted: Mar 12, 2010 |Comments: 0 | Views: 699 | INTRODUCTION
The word custody implies guardianship and protective care. Even when applied to indicate arrest or incarceration, it does not carry any sinister symptoms of violence during custody. No civilized law postulates custodial cruelty – an inhuman trait that springs out of a perverse desire to cause suffering when there is no possibility of any retaliation; a senseless exhibition of superiority and physical power over the one who is overpowered or a collective wrath of hypocritical thinking. It is one of the worst crime in the civilized society, governed by the rule of law and poses a serious threat to an orderly civilized society. Torture in custody flouts the basic rights of the citizens and is an affront to human dignity.
Prisoners have human rights and prison torture is the confession of the failure to do justice to living man. For a prisoner, all fundamental rights are an enforceable reality, though restricted by the fact of imprisonment. Simply stated, the death of a person in custody whether of the Police or Judicial will amount to Custodial Death. No doubt, the police plays vital role in safeguarding our life, liberty and freedoms. But the police must act properly, showing fall respect to the human rights of the people, remembering that they are also beneath the law, not above it and can be held liable for the violation of human rights. One can always argue that prisons formed islands of lawless discretion in a society guided by the values and often the practice of the rule of law, where the authorities exercised arbitrary power over the prisoner's lives. The charge of brutal custodial violence by the police often resulting in the death of the arrestees is not new. The figures of Amnesty International in 1992 show the number of deaths in police custody in India during the year 1985 to 1991 was 415. Figures compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau show that during the year 1990-92, as many as 258 rapes and 197 deaths in police custody were reported from all over the country. Needless to say, a large number of custodial violence incidents go unreported. Arun Shourie once observed: The victims were invariably poor. Several of them hauled in on no formal charges at all. Even in the case of persons who were arrested, in an overwhelmingly large number of cases they were all accused of petty offences n fact, the victims of custodial violence are people from poor and backward sections of the society with little political or financial power to back them. Personal enmity, caste and political considerations and at times pecuniary benefits become important considerations for custodial deaths rather than investigation of cases.
Conceptual aspect regarding custodial death
Law has always discouraged the acts or omissions which in general can affect right in rem and violators have always been punished with strict sanctions but the crime rate is not falling and State is in regular quest to preserve social solidarity and peace in society. Whenever death occurs in custody, it raises the public interest and attracts media attention. Not that at each time the death is due to violent causes but at times may be due to natural causes or due to inadequate medical facilities or medical attention and diagnosis, or negligent behavior of authorities or may be due to physical abuse and torture. Since time immemorial man has been attempting to subjugate his fellow human beings. Those in power are used to twisting and turning the people through violence and torture, and torture under custody has become a global phenomenon. Men, women and even children are subjected to torture in many of the world's countries,even though in most of these countries, the use of torture is prohibited by law and by the international declarations signed by their respective representatives. A problem of...
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