Custodial Death: An Abuse of Human Rights

Author-Meenakshi Sharma*


The manifestation of Custodial mortality under the world’s greatest democracy has raised every citizen's eyebrows and shaken the very faith in democracy. The international pressure for human rights observance is mounting.

Figure 1: States with the highest number of Custodial Deaths[1]

Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, motto and aphorism, depicts the National Human Rights Commission's core and seeks to achieve happiness, health, and dignity for throughout a rights-based system. It seems to be failing in it is an objection. The NCRB data depicts that no police officer has been convicted in the immediate five years, while between 2014 and 2018, 452 deaths were reported. Still, only 192 cases were registered during this period, and 118 policemen were charged, but no one was convicted.

The concept of custodial deaths formulates the routine procedure, confessing from the suspect, and manipulating the truth many times and not considered as something new to Indian society that people are becoming victims of custodial deaths. Since the British arena, prisoners have been exposed to brutal torment in confinement. People have signified divested their fundamental rights[2].

The precipitous and unanticipated deaths during the detention period are usually associated with the maladministration of the police officials, the media agencies' conjecture, hearsay information, and strong community attention. However, it is apprehended that an exhaustive and unprejudiced evaluation and inspection of the Forensic Pathology Department is accurate, intending to provide specific attributes regarding the justification, reasons, and motive of death.

Guardianship and protective care covered the following aspect, and if it is used to denote incarceration, it will not have any sinister symptoms of violence during detention. No civilized law presupposes the cruelty of incarceration. This inhumane characteristic stems from the improper desire to cause suffering without the chance of retaliation; it transcends the overwhelmingness of hypocritical thinking or the supremacy of collectively angry people, advantages material power of the show. It is the most severe crimes in a civilized society governed by law and poses a severe threat to an orderly civilized society. Torture in detention deprives citizens of their fundamental rights and is an affront to dignity.

Every inmate is a citizen and has fundamental social freedoms; moreover, prison torture is a miscarriage of justice. Nevertheless, police play a vital role in safeguarding our lives and freedom, although they must take appropriate action to show respect for the people's human rights, remembering that none is beyond the law and may be held responsible for human rights violations. One can always argue that prisons form an island that cannot be judge freely in a civilization. In this society, the authorities exercise arbitrary power over prisoners' lives where detainees' death is nothing new.

Reasons for Custodial Death

Many incidents have been observed where the accused's arrest took place without any warrant, and police officials have been sentenced to commit custodial death. Such incidents are defamatory for the system because the law has no right to take anyone's life during interrogation. Following the stipulations of Sec.300 of the IPC provides punishment if a civil servant exceeds his right to use force and causes anyone's death. Besides, Sec.330 mentions that if any civil servant harms anyone to extortion of confession, he will be punished by imprisonment of 7 years.

National law does not provide such arbitrary power to officials; still, custodial violence's persistence increases. Such increment reasons are as follows:[3]

  1. There were many instances when no proper search had been done of the detained personage before entering the detention center. The detained person perpetrates death under the detention because of nerve cut, hanged, poisoned, or burned.

  2. No other illegal interrogation methods should be adopted.

  3. No exists former preparation for interrogation.

  4. Police office are not supposed to interrogate get involved in the interrogation, which is of no relevance. They caused more significant harm to the defendant because they did not participate in the written interrogation.

  5. The policemen neither arranges any medical assistance nor instantly inspects the injured defendant, resulting in the detainees’ death.

  6. Police officer lack patience because they want to plead guilty immediately. If the defendant refuses to admit guilt, they directly use force.

  7. Lack of supervision by senior officials while interrogation

  8. This department's predominant habit of using coercion. Facts have proved that power against stubborn criminals and force against people with no previous criminal record has been used, following loss of life.

  9. The imprisoned person commits death in custody because of the police's improper behavior.

  10. Disrespect towards others and excessive desire to succeed through wrong methods of force.

Reduction Method