Custodial torture, deaths show deplorable state of mind of police: HC

The judge made this reference since the petitioners’ counsel submitted that there is an increasing trend of custodial death in Tamil Nadu. “About 76 custodial deaths had happened in TN in the last five years and none was punished/convicted for these murders, ” the petitioners submitted.
Custodial torture, deaths show deplorable state of mind of police: HC
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CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday observed that merciless assault and custodial deaths of the accused in the police custody show the deplorable state of mind of the policemen.

While heading the first bench of the Madras High Court along with Justice N Mala, Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari made this observation. The judge observed this on hearing petitions filed by AG Mouriya IPS (retired), and Saravanan Dhakshinamoorthy seeking direction from the court to the Tamil Nadu government to reconstitute the state police complaints authority in tune with the Supreme Court’s order.

When the matter was taken up, the Chief Justice noted that he received a letter when a youth named Vignesh, a horseman, died in police custody. “The person who wrote the letter wanted the HC to initiate suo-motu cognizance in the custodial death of the Vignesh. However, I refrain from taking suo-motu cognizance since the Chief Minister made an announcement in the state assembly that FIRs have been filed against policemen for the death of Vignesh, ” CJ MN Bhandari noted.

The judge made this reference since the petitioners’ counsel submitted that there is an increasing trend of custodial death in Tamil Nadu. “About 76 custodial deaths had happened in TN in the last five years and none was punished/convicted for these murders, ” the petitioners submitted.

On recording these submissions, the CJ observed that the way the accused were treated and assaulted in police custody shows the deplorable state of mind of the police.

“The Supreme Court had clearly said in its guidelines that a retired judge should head the state-level police complaints authority. What is the problem with the State in appointing a retired judge to the chairman position of the authority? Is the government afraid of judges? If any action was taken against an erring policeman, it should be considered as a move against that individual and not against the government. Constituting the police complaints authority in line with the direction of the Apex Court will showcase the good governance of the State, ” the CJ said.

The additional public prosecutor informed the HC that the authority is currently being headed by the home secretary and he is not part of the police force. However, the petitioners countered the argument by saying that DGP and ADGP are members of the police complaints authority. “As per the SC order, state police complaints authority should be chaired by a retired judge, and the district level committees should be filled with former judicial officers, ” the petitioners submitted.

Recording either side’s submissions, further pointed out that he is adjourning the matter for a final hearing on June 24 and he will pass orders in this matter.

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