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1840 deaths in judicial custody, 100 in police custody between 2020-21: Centre

Monetary compensation has been provided in only 593 cases since 2018 to 2021

Sabrangindia 04 Aug 2021

Judiciary

In a written answer provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on custodial deaths, Minister Nityanand Rai has stated that between 2020 to 2021, as many as 1,840 deaths in judicial custody have been recorded across all states and Union Territories, and 100 deaths have been recorded in police custody.

The state with the highest tally of judicial custody deaths is Uttar Pradesh (443), followed by West Bengal (177), Bihar (156) and Madhya Pradesh (155). Gujarat has reported the highest number of police custodial deaths between 2020 and 2021 at 17, followed by Maharashtra (13) and Madhya Pradesh (8).

The number of judicial custodial deaths have been increasing over the years as 1,797 cases were recorded between 2018 and 2019, and 1,584 cases were reported between 2019 and 2020. As per the details provided by the Home Ministry, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andamans have not reported any cases of deaths in judicial custody between 2020 and 2021.

At the same time, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Ladakh, Andamans, Dadra and Nagar Haveli have had no cases of police custodial deaths in the last one year.

Rai’s answer also stated that monetary compensation has been provided in only 593 cases since 2018 to 2021 and only 4 public servants have been pulled up for disciplinary action. His answer read, “NHRC has recommended Rs.15,90,74,998/- as monetary compensation in 593 cases of custodial deaths (Police & Judicial) during the period from 01.04.2018 to 30.06.2021. NHRC recommended disciplinary action in four cases of deaths in judicial custody, against the erring public servants. The disciplinary action against the erring public servant is to be taken by the respective state government as per extant rules and procedures.”

On the question of whether the Government is planning to ratify the United Nation’s Convention on Torture any time soon, it provided a half-baked answer with no conclusivity. The answer read, “In a Court case M.A. No. 2560/2018 in W.P. (C) No. 738/2016 filed by Dr. Ashwani Kumar Vs UOI, in the Hon’ble Supreme Court to implement the Prevention of Torture Bill, the Hon’ble Court stated that in order to ensure that India is in a position to efficiently discharge all obligations emanating from treaties/agreements, such ratifications should be undertaken only after relevant domestic clauses have been amended and the enabling legislations enacted when there is absence of domestic law on the subject. Amendment in the criminal law is a continuous process that has to be in line with social needs. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already initiated a comprehensive review of the criminal laws in consultation with all stakeholders.”

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Why has India still not ratified UN Convention against torture?
Prevention of torture Bill - the forgotten law

1840 deaths in judicial custody, 100 in police custody between 2020-21: Centre

Monetary compensation has been provided in only 593 cases since 2018 to 2021

Judiciary

In a written answer provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on custodial deaths, Minister Nityanand Rai has stated that between 2020 to 2021, as many as 1,840 deaths in judicial custody have been recorded across all states and Union Territories, and 100 deaths have been recorded in police custody.

The state with the highest tally of judicial custody deaths is Uttar Pradesh (443), followed by West Bengal (177), Bihar (156) and Madhya Pradesh (155). Gujarat has reported the highest number of police custodial deaths between 2020 and 2021 at 17, followed by Maharashtra (13) and Madhya Pradesh (8).

The number of judicial custodial deaths have been increasing over the years as 1,797 cases were recorded between 2018 and 2019, and 1,584 cases were reported between 2019 and 2020. As per the details provided by the Home Ministry, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andamans have not reported any cases of deaths in judicial custody between 2020 and 2021.

At the same time, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Ladakh, Andamans, Dadra and Nagar Haveli have had no cases of police custodial deaths in the last one year.

Rai’s answer also stated that monetary compensation has been provided in only 593 cases since 2018 to 2021 and only 4 public servants have been pulled up for disciplinary action. His answer read, “NHRC has recommended Rs.15,90,74,998/- as monetary compensation in 593 cases of custodial deaths (Police & Judicial) during the period from 01.04.2018 to 30.06.2021. NHRC recommended disciplinary action in four cases of deaths in judicial custody, against the erring public servants. The disciplinary action against the erring public servant is to be taken by the respective state government as per extant rules and procedures.”

On the question of whether the Government is planning to ratify the United Nation’s Convention on Torture any time soon, it provided a half-baked answer with no conclusivity. The answer read, “In a Court case M.A. No. 2560/2018 in W.P. (C) No. 738/2016 filed by Dr. Ashwani Kumar Vs UOI, in the Hon’ble Supreme Court to implement the Prevention of Torture Bill, the Hon’ble Court stated that in order to ensure that India is in a position to efficiently discharge all obligations emanating from treaties/agreements, such ratifications should be undertaken only after relevant domestic clauses have been amended and the enabling legislations enacted when there is absence of domestic law on the subject. Amendment in the criminal law is a continuous process that has to be in line with social needs. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already initiated a comprehensive review of the criminal laws in consultation with all stakeholders.”

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Why has India still not ratified UN Convention against torture?
Prevention of torture Bill - the forgotten law

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