On account of recently reported cases of transgressions by the police, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking to revive proceedings in its landmark case on custodial violence, DK Basu v. State of West Bengal.
Singhvi recounts the preliminary guidelines against illegal and arbitrary arrests and custodial violence laid down in the Court’s 1996 judgment. The Senior Advocate, who served as amicus curiae in DK Basu, cites the increasing cases of custodial violence and police torture in recent times as the reason for filing the application.
The application stated,
“As per the 2017-18 Annual Report published by the NHRC, it received 1,636 intimations concerning death in judicial custody, and 148 intimations of death in police custody during the year 2017-18. During the same period, apart from monetary relief in some of the cases, the Commission had recommended prosecution in only 2 cases and departmental inquiry in only 38 cases, i.e., in only 2.2% of the cases in which the commission had received information of custodial deaths.”
The application avers that the lack of accountability for such transgressions and violation of personal freedom, liberty and dignity by police officers results in scant regard for the guidelines, protocols, SOPs issued by the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission, and various State Human Rights Commissions.Among other core issues, the amicus curiae questions the inordinate delay in either initiating or completing the mandatory inquiry of deaths and Custodial violence in police custody under Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
“There is no reason why such inquiry should not be completed within 4 months”, read the application.
Directions have also been sought on the following aspects, among others:
- That the policemen named in the case be put under suspension pending trial from the day Judicial Magistrate completes his/her preliminary inquiry and files the report, unless the preliminary report of the Judicial Magistrate completely exonerates the police official concerned.
- Disentitle any police official under departmental action and/or prosecution for custodial death/torture encounter killing from receiving any award or reward from the government.
- All police stations and prisons shall have CCTV recording and further issue directions to the state to explore the possibility and feasibility of providing dashboard/personnel cameras for police officials while making any arrest/detention.
Read the Application here:;