This Article is
regarding Custodial Death: The Worst Crime In India.
As per the report over 20 years, there are 1,888 cases reported of custodial
death have been reported all over India, 893 cases were registered against
Police officers and charge sheets were filed against 358 Police officers. The
records show that during the 2 decades only 26 policemen were convicted.
What is Custodial Death:
Custodial Death means the death of a person in police custody or judicial
custody. The word custody defines guardianship and protective care. Misusing
one's power causes a person to die. Death of a person in police or prison
custody due to which the person was beaten up, tortured etc by the police. It is
caused due to negligent acts done by police, one can say it is physical torture
by police or prison authority on prisoners which leads to the death of a person.
It is done by police during interrogation or trial by police officers using
force leads to death.
In the case of Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baijit Singh other
It was held that the installation of CCTV shall be compulsory in the Police
Station, while interrogation and the place where the holding of the accused
Custodial death is a shameful and worst crime for a civilized society
in a democracy. This is being taken very lightly which is going to prove to be
serious fatal in the coming time. Sometimes it has been found that a person
disappears or died from the police or prison custody but the actual person dies
in police or prison custody and is said to have fled. Misuse of power by police
to gain credit by confessing the accused led to torture was held in the case
Queen-Empress vs Babu lal
11884 12 R6 All, 509.
In the case of D.K Vasu vs State Of West Bengal,
the Hon'ble Supreme Court
laid down the following guidelines to be followed at the time of the arrest.
Type of Custodial Death
It can be classified into two types:
- The police officer while interrogating of arrested person makes sure
that the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and
name with their designation must record in the register.
- The police officer shall prepare a memo of arrest while arresting an
accused person, attested by at least one witness who may either be a family
member or a respectable citizen of society or locality, it shall be
countersigned by the arrestee and shall contain the time and date of arrest.
- Person in police custody, shall entitle to have one friend or relative
as soon as an arrest is being made.
- Time, place of arrest, and venue of custody of an arrested person
informed to a friend or relative living outside the district or town by the
police, within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.
- Arrested person should be aware of his/her rights, soon after arrest
should inform someone of his/her arrest
- Entry should be made in the police diary of the arrested person his
name, place, name of a friend or relative who has been informed of the
- The arrested person can make a request for his/her medical examination,
major and minor injuries present if any on his/her body should be recorded.
- The arrested should be subject to medical examination every 48 hours by
approved doctors appointed by a state or union territory.
- Copies of all documents including the memo of arrest should be sent to
the nearer magistrate.
- Arrested have the right to meet his/her lawyer during interrogation.
- Police control room should be provided at all district and state head
quarters, place of arrest, causing of arrest should be displayed on the
notice board, soon within 12 hours of effecting the arrest at the police
- Police Custody
- Judicial Custody
When a person commits an offence, he is put in a police lockup. As per section
57 of CrPC an arrested person needs to be present before a nearer magistrate
within 24 hours. While judicial custody means when an accused person is under
the custody of a magistrate is known as judicial or prison custody.
Guideline Of National Human Right Commission (NHRC):
Following guidelines need to be followed during custodial death:
Law related to Custodial Death:
- Death has to be reported within 24 hours to National Human Right
- Post mortem must be video graphed, post mortem works as valuable
- All reports of post mortem, magistrate inquiry reports must be sent to NHRC
within two months.
- Indian Penal code (IPC), 1860:
Section 330, 331, and 348.
- Indian Evidence Act (IEA), 1872:
Section 25 and 26.
- Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973:
Section 76, 162, and 167.
- Police Act 1861:
- Prison Act:
Article 14, 20(3) and 21.
Other Case Law
- State of Andhra Pradesh vs Venugopal and others AIR 1964 33, 1964 SCR(3) 742
It was held that the court reversed the decision of acquittal, the 3 police
officers who indulged in the torture of the accused were sentenced to 5-year
- State of Uttar Pradesh vs Ram Sagar Yadav and Others AIR 1985 SC 416.
It was held by Supreme Court, the police officer found accused of conviction
under 302 IPC instead of 304 IPC.
- Challa Ramakendra Reddy and Others vs State of A.P AIR 1989 A.P 235.
It was held that under Rule 48 of Madras prison rules, the police were
responsible for the safety of prisoners.
- Dallop Singh and others vs the State of Haryana (1993)2 SC J 542.
Two constables were held liable for custodial death under section 304 Part 2 IPC
were sentenced to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment.
- Maneka Gandhi case
The Supreme court held that article 21 of the Indian Constitution requires not
only law but also the procedure followed by the law should be Fair, Just and
It is the responsibility of the jury to look after the case to a serious extent
and protect the interest of people to meet the end of justice. It is always
found in the grip of its target marginalized caste, poorer sections of society
are being more likely to be affected by police violence and to be tortured than
people who are financially or politically hold. This type of crime is having a
very deep impact on society, this has to be stopped or else it will become a
threat to the next generation.
Written By Priyanshu Badkul
- Custodial Death in India, A Research Study
, a Student at Prestige
Institute of Management and Research, Department of Law, Indore.