Right against Custodial Violence with special reference to Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra By- Raghav Mehdiratta
The discourse of development has been undergone a paradigmatic shift over the few decades. The human development has become an exiting debate of developmental thinking in contemporary period. As the first Human Development Report (1990) has argued, Human beings are the real wealth of a nation, and the basic objective of development is to create enabling environment for enhancing their achievements, freedoms, and capabilities including self respect and human rights. In this context issue of governance has moved at the forefront of the agenda for sustained human development in recent years, the. Experience from many countries shows that while good governance can help secure human well being and sustained development, it is equally important to recognize that poor governance could well erode the individual capabilities, as well as institutional and community capacities to meet even the basic needs of sustenance for large segments of the population (National Human Development 2001). It has now been fully realized that poverty is not merely the result of bad economy, it is also due to bad governance. Being voiceless and powerless that makes it very difficult for the poor and disadvantaged people to access justice and easy prey for the state and its agencies like the police and the elite class to deny them the access. Contextualizing Custodial Violence
Custodial violence and abuse of police power have emerged a major issue of human rights concern and one of the root obstacles to democracy and development of human well being in contemporary societies. Torture caused custodial violence has devastating effects on physical and mental health as well as social functioning of the individuals, their children, families, communities and society at large. The victims remain in a state of perpetual fear and horror whenever they remember their custodial agony, hatred, trauma and probably never able to lead a normal life in many parts of the world. The practice of custodial violence in the developing countries like India is, however, more difficult and complex. A large number of cases of police brutality take place not because of individual aberration, but because of systematic compulsions. The practice is more widespread and gone unchecked since British days if there was no tacit support of senior police officials, bureaucrats, politicians and judiciary. The fact is that the practice also enjoys the support of a large section of the public in the mistaken belief that it is necessary for effective maintenance of law and order . Torture, in order to extract confession was so endemic in India that the British colonial rulers, when enacting criminal laws for the country, decided to make all confessions to police officers inadmissible as evidence in court of law. After Independence, the Constitutional and statutory provisions safeguarding life and liberty of an individual in custody including rights against self-incriminate, incidences of custodial crimes have become a disturbing factor in society.
In recent years, custodial crimes have drawn attention of Public, Media, Legislature, Judiciary and even Human Rights Commission. Nevertheless, judicial activisms, widespread media coverage, initiatives taken by National Human Rights Commission as well as Civil Society Intervention have shown their concern for combating torture and upholding human dignity. However, custodial crimes have not only increased in manifold dimensions but also became a routine police practice of interrogation these days. Studies indicate that generally, the victims of custodial crimes are poor, women, children and disadvantaged people those who belong to the weaker sections of society. The poor & socially excluded groups & people with little or no political or financial power are unable to protect their...
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