Custodial deaths

Custodial deaths are perhaps one of the worst crimes in a civilised society. The police officers, who are regarded as the custodian and guardian of law, have acted in just the contrary manner and have failed to protect the very basic right to life guaranteed by article 21 of the Constitution. Custodial violence and abuse of police power is not only peculiar to this country but it is also widespread. However in India, it is considered second to none. In recent years, third degree torture and custodial deaths have become an intrinsic part of police investigations and the injury inflicted on the prisoners is sometimes unbearable. In almost every state of the country, there is an increase in frequency of deaths in custody, generally prescribed by the newspapers as lock-up deaths. Newspapers, almost every day, carry reports of assault, torture, rape and death of persons in police custody. The Indian Constitution has conferred many rights on the citizens and its importance needs no explanation. Hence, the courts as well as the police officers, that is, the Law Enforcement Officers of the State should strive to prevent anyone from committing a breach of the same. Custodial violence including torture and death in lock-ups strike a blow at the rule of law, which demands that the powers of the executive should not only be derived from law but also that the same should be limited by law.
JUBEL D’CRUZ
Mumbai, India

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