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Plea for judicial probe in custodial death cases

The Hindu
Published on 24 January 2020

SC seeks government’s response

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to respond to a petition seeking implementation of Section 176(1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides for mandatory judicial inquiry in cases of death, disappearance or rape in police and judicial custody.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman issued notice to the government on the petition made by activist Suhas Chakma, who pointed out that since the enactment of Section 176(1A) in 2005, the National Human Rights Commission has recorded 24,043 custodial deaths/rapes between 2005-2006 and 2018-2019.

Mr. Chakma said the National Crimes Records Bureau’s annual reports from 2005 to 2017 state that judicial inquiry was not conducted in about 80% of the cases recorded by it.

The reports further state that with respect to 476 cases of “death or disappearance of persons remanded in police custody by court,” 266 cases were registered and 54 policemen were chargesheeted, but not a single policeman was convicted. Out of the 827 cases of death or disappearance of persons in police custody without court remand, judicial inquiry was ordered only in 166 cases — 20% of the total cases.

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