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Gujarat, Tamil Nadu report most custodial deaths in country, no conviction

A total of 70 custodial deaths were reported in 2018, of which most of the people - 46 - were not on remand.

Published: 11th July 2020 08:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2020 08:41 AM   |  A+A-

Forensic experts inspect the encounter site near Kanpur | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: If at all a probe is ordered in case of Vikas Dubey’s ‘encounter’, over which many, including former senior police officers, have raised serious doubts, and the police personnel involved in Thursday’s encounter of his aides are found guilty and are convicted, it would be a exception and not a norm. 

That’s because in all such cases, as per National Crime Records Bureau’s latest report of 2018, there has not been a single conviction of a police personnel. No policeman was convicted for human rights violations, including custodial deaths, according to data analysed by this newspaper. 

A total of 70 custodial deaths were reported in 2018, of which most of the people — 46 — were not on remand. Gujarat reported 14 such deaths, the highest; Tamil Nadu followed with 12 such deaths and Andhra Pradesh with 11. Other states which reported custodial deaths were  Maharashtra (7), Rajasthan (5), Madhya Pradesh (4), and 2 each from Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Punjab and Telangana. Bihar, Jharkhand and Kerala also reported one custodial death each.

Of the total cases, magisterial inquiry was ordered in only 21 — eight in Gujarat, five in Andhra, three in Tamil Nadu, two each in Punjab and Rajasthan and one in Assam. While Section 176 (1A) of CrPC mandates judicial iquiry in every case of custodial death, NCRB data shows it was ordered only in 28 of the 70 cases — nine in Tamil Nadu, seven in Maharashtra, five in Gujarat, four in MP and one each in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

Of the 46 incidents of people who were not on remand and died in police custody, only in 29 incidents were criminal cases filed. Charge sheets were filed in only five matters in which a total of 13 policemen were charge-sheeted and 23 personnel were arrested, but not a single cop was convicted in any of those cases. Of the total 24 deaths in police/judicial remand, 15 criminal cases were registered but the accused were given a clean chit even before the chargesheets were filed. 

According to the NCRB, highest number of custodial deaths (32) happened due to illness followed by suicides (17). Seven  died while escaping and seven due to injuries sustained earlier. Three deaths were reported due to injuries caused by the police, one prisoner died in a road accident and the cause of death of three prisoners could not be known. 

There were 89 cases of alleged human rights violations by police and in none of them was anyone convicted. These included four encounters, 3 custodial deaths, 3 cases of police torture, 17 of extortion by police personnel, an illegal detention and 61 other cases. 

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