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Custodial Torture: Calcutta High Court Grants Bail To NDPS Accused, Orders Enquiry & Preservation Of CCTV Footage

Aaratrika Bhaumik
17 May 2022 1:30 PM GMT
Custodial Torture: Calcutta High Court Grants Bail To NDPS Accused, Orders Enquiry & Preservation Of CCTV Footage

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday granted bail to an accused against whom proceedings under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) had been initiated after taking into account that he had suffered torture while in custody.

The Court further directed the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad to immediately enquire into the allegations of torture against the accused and submit a detailed report in this regard on the next date of hearing.

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha was adjudicating upon a plea filed by the wife of the accused alleging that her husband had been a victim of custodial torture. The Court on Tuesday took on record the medical examination report filed by the Office of the CMOH (Chief Medical Officer of Health), Murshidabad dated May 9.

The Court upon perusal of the report observed that the report does not indicate the mobility in the limbs of the petitioner's husband and that it also does not state under what circumstances the abrasion injuries were sustained by the petitioner's husband.

Furthermore, the Court also took on record the report filed by the Additional District Judge, 2nd Court, Berhampore, Murshidabad dated May 10 which indicated that the statement of the petitioner's husband had been recorded by the Additional Sessions Judge, 2nd Court, Murshidabad. Upon perusal of the statement, the Court further opined that the statement records the gory details of the torture inflicted upon the petitioner's husband.

Ordering for the release of the petitioner's husband from the Berhampore Central Correctional Home, the Court observed,

"In view of the above, this Court is of the prima facie view that a certain degree of torture may have been inflicted on the husband of the petitioner. The matter requires a suitable investigation. The husband of the petitioner, namely, Azad Ali, shall be released forthwith from the custody of the Berhampore Central Correctional Home. The petitioner herself and on behalf of her husband undertakes before this Court and also on behalf of the husband, that she will report before the Judge, Special Court, N.D.P.S. Act, Berhampore, Murshidabad every Thursday at 11 a.m., commencing day after tomorrow."

The Court also clarified that any further conditions of liberty including a default clause may be specified by the Judge, Special Court, N.D.P.S. Act, Berhampore, Murshidabad. It was also observed that that the NDPS proceedings may go on as usual.

Directing an enquiry into the allegations of torture and extortion, the Court observed further,

"The Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad, shall forthwith enquire into the allegations of torture against the petitioner's husband, and the allegation of extortion against the officer of the Lalgola P.S. submit a detailed report before this Court on or before the next day."

The Court further directed the Lalgola Police Station, Murshidabad to preserve all the CCTV footage and other evidence in connection with taking into custody of the husband of the petitioner, and his detention thereafter.

The matter is slated to be heard next on June 15.

Advocates Subhasish Chakraborty, Srijib Chakraborty and Subha Pathak appeared for the petitioner. The State was represented by advocate Amrita Panja Moulick.

Case Title: Salema Bibi v. State of West Bengal & Ors

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 182

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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