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  • Writer's pictureLAWGIC STRATUM


Author: Lavanita Chityala


Lord Acton has rightly said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”[1]. This absolute power, around the world and specifically India, is the cause of the vicious act of police brutality and custodial death. Police for ages has been the principal law enforcement agency of the state. The state given Liberty is the most cherished possession of man. In custodial death, this cherished possession is taken away by the law enforcement agency of the state. There are several laws, to protect the liberty of a prisoner (citizen) and to prevent custodial violence. However melancholy, India is at the lowest position in the enforcement of these laws tending to custodial death. The exceeding number of cases day by day serves enough evidence for this brutal act. In the famous custodial violence the Apex court in 2018 stated that, with great power comes greater responsibility, and added that if the one with such responsibility by committing the brutal act of custodial death “tend to deplete the confidence in our criminal justice system much more than those incidents involving private individuals.


Violence in custody either police or judicial is known as Custodial violence, and in case of death in custody, it is termed as custodial death. Apart from death, the other custodial violence involves rape and torture. Custodial violence is not a recent phenomenon.

Sections 330, 331 & 348 of IPC; Sections 25 & 26 of the Indian Evidence Act; Section 76 of CRPC and Section 29 of the Police Act, 1861 were enacted, to safeguard prisoners from torture for confessions in custody.


1. Study the nature of custodial violence taking place under the custody of the police.

2. Analyze causes of custodial crimes in police custody;

3. Examine critically preventive measures to combat custodial crimes;

4. Assess the role of Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organizations in addressing the issue of custodial crimes; and

5. Penalties of offense happen in the police custody, investigate from international aspects


1. Death Penalty

India had not abolished the death penalty. However, as a rule, ordered down by the Supreme Court, it's to be awarded by the competent courts solely within the rarest of the rare cases, within which the crime committed is therefore evil that it barrels the conscience of the world. Attorney General of Asian nation v Lachmna Devi WP (Cri) No. 1601 of 1985,[2], The Court opined that the execution of the death sentence by public hanging is barbaric (brutal) and violating Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court said that though the crime of the accused is found to be guilty, such punishment was barbaric.

2. Torture

Torture states that “No exceptional, wherever a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture”. Any person who suffers from any torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, or punishment can go to the higher Courts under Article 32 and 226 of the Constitution seeking rewards. Death of Husain Case No.64/11/1999-2000[3]- A.J. Antony, a resident of Wynad, Kerala, gave a complaint to the Commission claiming that one Husain, a worker, was brutally beaten by the police on a gambling place. The police had hit him so harshly that his spinal cord broke, and he got paralyzed below the neck. Since his family is poor, he was brought home after the initial treatment. The Commission immediately called for a report from the DGP Kerala. Shri Husain stated that the policemen had hit him and went away without giving him any medical treatment. The Government of Kerala has passed the compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the next kin of Hussain.

3. Arrest and Illegal Detention

The Supreme Court initiated the development of “Custodial Jurisprudence” in D.K. Basu v State of West Bengal[4], the Court has issued 16 guidelines on procedure to arrest the person.

4. Confession

Article 20(3) of the Constitution provides that no person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself and Section 162(2) CRPC enjoins that any person supposed to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case shall be bound to answer truly, all questions relating to such case, put to him by any police officer making an investigation under Chapter XII of the Code.


A well-developed knowledge transfer platform needs to be established for acknowledgment of laws and recommendations about custodial deaths, punishments in case of custodial death or violence among the police organizations. India firmly believes in rule of law, and has distributed the sovereign powers in the hands of its citizens. Nobody is above the law of land in our country, and time is exclaiming to raise alarm against violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.


1. Custodial Deaths : Police Cases Torture, Illegal Detention / Unlawful Arrest, False Implication etc ,National Human Rights Commission, India,Last accessed on: Jan 05,2021.

2. Manmeet Singh, “Custodial Violence in India” Legal Service India Last accessed on: Jan 05, 2021.

3. Sylvine, “Custodial Death – Who is Responsible?” iPleaders Intelligent Legal Solutions Last accessed on: Jan 06, 2021

4. William Faulkner, Chapter 8 –Conclusion and Suggestions, shodhgangaIndia Last accessed on: Jan 06, 2021.

5. William Faulkner,Chapter 9- Custodial Death and Judicial Response in India, Last accessed on: Jan 06, 2021

6. Niddhi, “Law of Torts in Reference with Custodial Deaths in India. Journal of Law of Torts and Consumer Protection Law 2018”Last Assessed Jan 07, 2021. [1] Lord Acton’s letter to Bishop Creighton, Power tends to corrupt. [2]Attorney General of Asian nation v Lachmna Devi WP (Cri) No. 1601 of 1985, [3] Torture by Kerala Police which led to Death of Hussain Case No.64/11/1999-2000, [4] D.K. Basu v State of West Bengal,

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