The Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Advocates-On- Record Association has condemned the "barbaric custodial torture" inflicted upon the father-son duo by the police officers of Sathankulam Police Station at Thoothukudi District in Tamil Nadu.
The Committee has stated that the "shocking" incident is an assault on humanity and needs to be addressed by taking strict action against the errant officials.
Shri. Jeyaraj and his son, Shri. Bennicks were arrested by the Sathankulam police on June 19, allegedly for violating lockdown restrictions and further for misbehaving with on-duty police personnel. The two were remanded to Judicial custardy at Sub Jail, Kovilpatti, on June 20, 2020, and died on the following days, allegedly due to police excesses and lack of proper medical care.
Expressing its "deep anguish and dismay" on the tragic incident, the SCAORA said,
"Since the competent authorities are stated to be examining the conduct of the police, of the doctor in not giving them proper medical attention in the government hospital and of the concerned judicial magistrate sending them in remand without due process in the said case, the SCAORA is, at present, confining itself to condemning the custodial torture and deaths as crimes against humanity, and calling upon the authorities to take the strictest possible action, including prosecution for commission of criminal offences, against such officers who are found to be guilty."
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The Association has called upon all concerned to take immediate steps to ensure that the police and the magistracy across the country give respect to the constitutional guarantees of an accused, adhere with the provisions of CrPC and comply with various directions and guidelines formulated by the Supreme Court in a catena of cases, including though not limited to arrest, detention, humane custodial treatment and bail.
"The SCAORA is of the view that the need for the implementation of the police reforms, as has been directed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, has assumed grave urgency to prevent the recurrence of such shocking cases and to maintain the Rule of Law," a resolution passed by the Association on Monday states.
The matter has come under judicial scanner in a suo moto case registered by the Madras High Court and a division bench comprising Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi has ordered a judicial probe.
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Meanwhile, the Director General of Tamil Nadu Police has issued fresh guidelines (SOP) for arrest/remand of accused persons.
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