KOCHI: The state government on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that as many as six unnatural deaths of prisoners were reported during the period from 2012 to June 2017 from the prisons across the state and the local police had initiated legal action in these cases. Based on the postmortem report and further investigation by the police, it was revealed that the death of prisoners in many cases was natural as they were due to various diseases, the government said in a statement.
The statement was filed in a case suo motu initiated by the court on the directive of the Supreme Court to identify the next of kin of the prisoners who are victims of unnatural death as disclosed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) between 2012 and 2015, and to award suitable compensation in cases where payment has not been given. The government also submitted that the police provided the authorities concerned with necessary reports such as FIR for facilitating the next kin of the prisoners who are victims of unnatural death for getting suitable compensation.
The government submitted that after registering an FIR in such death cases, a requisition was submitted to the District Magistrate concerned for holding the inquest. The postmortem of the deceased was being properly videographed as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). A magisterial inquiry would also be conducted into all unnatural deaths, in addition to the police investigation, and it would be reported to the NHRC by the district police chief concerned within 48 hours in a prescribed format as per the guidelines issued by the NHRC. If the unnatural death was due to suicide, the local police would probe whether it was due to depression or due to harassment of prison authorities.