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Meghalaya High Court Seeks Complete List Of Persons Who Have Died In Custody Since 2012

Sparsh Upadhyay
15 April 2022 10:06 AM GMT
Meghalaya High Court Seeks Complete List Of Persons Who Have Died In Custody Since 2012
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The Meghalaya High Court on Wednesday directed the State's Inspector General of Prisons to file an affidavit containing the complete list of persons who have died in custody since 2012.The Court issued this order while hearing a suo moto case on custodial violence and other matters relating to prison conditions. The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Hamarsan...

The Meghalaya High Court on Wednesday directed the State's Inspector General of Prisons to file an affidavit containing the complete list of persons who have died in custody since 2012.

The Court issued this order while hearing a suo moto case on custodial violence and other matters relating to prison conditions. The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew has sought the details within 10 days.

Since an earlier report contained several anomalies, therefore, the Court has specifically directed the Inspector General of Prisons that the affidavit should confirm that there has been no custodial death other than those indicated in such affidavit.

This has been ordered so that if any anomaly is found or any further name discovered, appropriate action may be taken against the Inspector-General. The Court has also ordered that such affidavit be counter-verified by the Chief Secretary to the State.

It may be noted that this suo motu public interest litigation was instituted following an order of the Supreme Court of September 15, 2017 [In Re-Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons], that, in effect, directed the identification of the next of kin of prisoners who had died an unnatural death from the period of 2012 for such relatives to be awarded suitable compensation, unless they had already been compensated.

The order of the Supreme Court requires identification and award of compensation in deserving cases within a reasonable time.

Now, on March 3, 2022, noting that no serious progress had been made in the matter and that there had been a level of unwillingness in State functioning to proceed in this matter,, the Chief Justice led bench had issued the following order:

"An appropriate report listing all the cases of death of undertrials or convicts in custody since 2012, anywhere in the State, should be furnished without exception. In all cases, whether the death was natural or unnatural should be indicated. Since there is a presumption that when a person dies in custody, it may be taken to be unnatural, the grounds for the State to perceive that some of the deaths may have been natural should also find place in the report."

Pursuant to this direction, a report was filed by the state government however, since it didn't contain the correct data, the Court has again directed it to come up with another report containing the correct data. The matter will next be heard on May 2, 2022.

Case title - In Re suo motu custodial violence & other matters relating to prison conditions V. State of Meghalaya & Ors. 

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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