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The idea of custodial death is not new for the Indian culture. Since the period of British rule, individuals have been dying in the police custody during investigation. India has always witnessed the essential rights of the detainees being broken and the utilization of coercion and torment to take the positive explanation. The police administration is constantly scrutinized for custodial deaths, torment, and the utilization of unlawful methods during the investigations.

What is Custodial Death?

Custodial death is characterized as the death of an individual because of any type of torment or cruel, brutal or debasing treatment by the cops, regardless of whether it happens during investigation, cross examination or something else.

In the case of D.K. Basu v. State of W.B.[1], custodial death is one of the most noticeably terrible crimes in a civilised society administered by Rule of Law. Does a citizen shed off his fundamental right to life, the second a policeman arrest him? Can the right to life of a citizen be put in hold of his arrest? The answer, indeed, has to be emphatic “No”.

In another case of Sunil Batra (No. 2) v. Delhi Administration[2], the Hon’ble SC has held that the detainees are qualified for fundamental rights while they are in custody.

In spite of the fact that the authorities are legally bound to give satisfactory important comforts and guarantee the security of the prisoners by giving them a healthy environment which incorporates timely clinical assistance, however the genuine situation is not quite the same as what the legal implications suggest. It is likewise observed that for the most part the people having a place in poor sections of the general public or the ones that from the discouraged castes face this remorselessness in jail.

The legal system in India is additionally not a lot of arranged to deal with an issue relating to custodial death. To refer to an example, as of late, in April 2015, Viqar Ahmed and four others were shot and slaughtered by the police in the Indian city of Hyderabad who belonged to a monetarily unsteady family, while being moved from jail to court. It has additionally been seen that going from prison to trial is a dangerous excursion for a couple of prisoners in police custody in India.

Causes of Custodial Violence

Police framework is the primary arm of the democracy that manages the common man legitimately. Consequently, there emerges a dire need to prevent abuse of the force and direct it the correct way. So, what are the causes that an educated officer resorts to such inhuman atrocities?

  • Work Pressure: Additionally, extremist gatherings, which are these days cause chaos and slaughter in numerous territories, comprise of all around prepared criminals who are profoundly energetic to their cause and don’t uncover any data rapidly. In such a circumstance, the mental pressure turns into a purpose behind adopting ruthlessness as a way to recover information from lawbreakers.
  • Reformation: Some of the time, the police need to turn to the strategies of viciousness, to keep the criminal from carrying out the wrongdoing again. They accept that demonstrating the more awful results of the act will create fear in the brain of the culprit and in this way forestalls the chance of committing it once more. Now and again, severe strategies produce the above-wanted outcome yet much of the time, the main objective is not accomplished.
  • Punitive Violence: There are some confused, albeit honest, police officers who have faith in not releasing the criminal away unpunished. Such individuals accept that there is no better method of guaranteeing this yet by the utilization of third degree torment strategies.

Latest Tamil Nadu Incident

A recent incident which happened in Tamil Nadu sparked massive public clamor in Tamil Nadu and several other parts of India as well.

The death of a father and son in the police custody in the district Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, spread like a fire in social media and grabbed people’s attention towards the concerns of police brutality and custodial deaths in India.  

Basically, what happened was that on June 19, J. Benicks got information that his father, P. Jayaraj had been picked up by the police. He rushed to know about it and then, he was called in by police officers for an inquiry.

On June 21, both father and the son were remanded in the judicial custody and kept in Kovilpatti jail in the town. The two were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code also. After two days, their family and friends were informed by the police that both the father and the son had died at a Government hospital.

Their family claimed that both had died due to the brutal torture by the police personnel in the custody. The doctor’s report at the hospital also claimed that both suffered multiple injuries.

Thus, from the above incident, it can be proved that police brutal actually exists and that to, there are a rising number of cases.


The answer for the issue would as such lie in measures to keep such subtleties from custodial deaths, truth be told, such viciousness itself, and decrease the quantity of custodial deaths to the degree possible in different conditions by advancing effective frameworks and method for expeditious and sufficient medical aid, where required, and sensible preventive measures against mishaps and suicides. Simultaneously, it would likewise be important to place such deaths in legitimate point of view to change the current open observation and build up regulatory in the issue.


[1] (1993) 2 SCC 746.

[2] AIR 1980 SC 1579.

This blog is written by Rashi Srivastava, Amity University.

Some of her blogs-

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