Custodial Deaths: Need For An Anti- Torture Law

This blog is inscribed by Snehal Hota.

It is basic knowledge that in India torture is expertly authorized and polished as an intense method for a criminal examination. The police resort to this primitive practice as an apparatus for extracting information from those in custody, going around the criminal equity framework, and subverting the standard of law. India signed the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 1997 yet to approve it. 


The Custodial Death of Jayaraj and Benicks at the Sathankulam police station in the Tuticorin District of Tamil Naduhave caused a stir because of sheer size of torment and savagery executed by the police. This occurrence has opened up the discussion on the utilization of third-degree techniques by the Police to draw out confessions and statements, even as the worldwide resentment following the death of George Floyd is a long way from fading away. In the United States, the protest against incidents of police brutality has now resulted in the House of Commons (Congress) passing a police reform bill seeking to ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct etc. Interestingly India also shares similar situation as that of the United States as the Indian anti- torture law, proposed many time by the parliamentaries is yet to see the light of the day.

The idea of custodial death isn’t new for the Indian culture. Since the British standard, individuals have been kicking the bucket in the police custody during investigation. India has consistently seen the essential thing privileges of the detainees being broken and the utilization of compulsion and torment to take the positive proclamation. The police organization is constantly censured for custodial deaths, torment, and the utilization of unlawful methods during the examinations. In spite of the fact that the authorities are bound to undoubtedly give satisfactory fundamental civilities and guarantee the wellbeing of the detainees by giving them a solid situation which incorporates opportune clinical help, yet the genuine situation is unique in relation to what the legitimate ramifications recommend. It is additionally observed that for the most part the people having a place with helpless areas of the general public or the ones that from the discouraged standings face this savagery in jail.

The issue of sudden death in jail exists in the domestic spaces as well as found in the worldwide situation. Nations, for example, Bangladesh, Algeria, Argentina, Burma know about the presence of this insidious practice on their territories. The circumstance in India isn’t totally different from the global one. The report takes note of that 1,671 detainees have died in 2017 while they were injudicial custody. These passings in correctional facilities have been extensively characterized into natural death and unnatural death. The regular death classification incorporates those by sickness or old age. While a sensible test is being created, data show that some place in the year 2001 and 2018, only 26 police were condemned for custodial brutality despite 1,727 such death being recorded in India.

What Causes of Custodial Violence? 

Police framework is the fundamental arm of the democracy that manages the common man legitimately. Consequently, there emerges an earnest need to forestall maltreatment of the force and direct it the correct way. To accomplish this, it is basically extremely basic to contemplate the purposes for the issue of custodial viciousness.

The police officers use their official position to manipulate evidences against themselves and this is a big reason of this question that why victims are increasing in numbers and they can’t protest against their violence. The other root of this is greed for money. Each and every person gives the priority to money, they want money in anyway, and this is mental condition of our primitive to higher society. The main motive of the police is to get a particular position or promotion in their post through this method in which, they harm the victims, threaten and beat them, or keep them hanging in police station is just to extract Money, for which the whole world is searching for and police is mean of producing money for officers and ministers. The FIR is written by police officer itself and court give importance to FIR, and it is obvious that police will not write against them. Another cause for this is the genuine reason but not right way as, punitive violence is that reason. Sometimes the policemen believe in that not even a single criminal shall not be let away from it. They have started seeing brutality and start beating them with a thinking that there is no another way for revealing the truth form victims. 

Laws for Prevention of Custodial deaths in India

The Indian Legislature has taken some steps in the form of Acts, Bills and Suggestions, which aim at preventing the custodial deaths- 

  • The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 has been introduced in the Parliament.
  • The National Human Rights Commission has issued guidelines to be followed in case of custodial deaths and rape.
  • The National Human Rights Commission has also issued guidelines for magisterial inquiry in the cases of custodial death.

Destiny of the Prevention of Anti Torture bill, 2010 

The worldwide responsibility to an enemy of torment law is set apart with the appropriation of the Declaration on the Protection of All persons from being subjected to other remorseless, brutal or corrupting treatment or discipline by the Overall Assembly of United Nations on 09.12.1975. This was also known as the Torture Declaration. This was followed by The convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This came to be known as The Torture Convention which was adopted by the General Assembly on 10.12.1984. The torture Convention takes into consideration the Article 5 of The Universal Declaration of Human rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and political rights, both these articles dealt with the provision that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Anyway for the torture convention to be made pertinent in India, India needs to pass a law empowering the nation to confirm the equivalent. The Prevention of the Torture Bill 2010 was then introduced in the Lok Sabha on 26.04.2010 by the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram and was passed on 06.05.2010.

Despite the fact that the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha it didn’t cruise past the Rajya Sabha. The bill passed by the Lok Sabha was referred to a select Committee of the Rajya Sabha which has prescribed different amendments to the bill yet it before long slipped by when the fifteenth Lok Sabha was dissolved in 2014.

Present Scenario of the Anti Torture Bill, 2010

India’s torture bill has been in a state of insensibility for right around 10 years now. At the point when the inquiry in regards to the usage of the law commission proposals was examined in the Supreme Court, it was educated by the Central government through Attorney General that the draft counteraction of the torture bill 2017 has alluded to all the States and UTs for their data sources and remarks and that solitary 8 states have reacted. Much after impressive time has slipped by from the date of law commission report the counteraction of torture bill 2017 has not to occasion presented in the place of parliament. The Home Minister Amit Shah on the event of 50th establishment day of the department of police innovative work referenced that an exhaustive round of questioning torture was over, maybe the initial phase toward that path would be a convenient presentation of the Prevention of torture bill 2017 with the goal that India can adjust at last to its worldwide duty of annihilating torture from the policing framework.


The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017, drafted by the Law Commission, is an exceptional open door for the legislature to make an extensive law to counter the danger of torture and address the barricades to the counteraction of torture in India. One reason for custodial torture is the police sub-culture and absence of legitimate preparing. For quite a while now, the way of life of custodial torture is common in Indian detainment facilities. A solid enactment would go about as the method of prevention and will make the jails more secure for the accused. The custodial torture is an infringement of human right including different central rights. It is critical that significantly following 71 years of autonomy and 21 years in the wake of signing of The United Nations Convention against Torture 1984 (UNCAT), no considerable advances have been taken to effectuate it. The opportunity has already come and gone that the Government sanction UNCAT and bring an enactment with solid correctional arrangements guaranteeing that anybody enjoyed the demonstration of torture ought not escape from the hands of equity.



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