In the backdrop of the horrific custodial death of father-son duo Jayaraj and Bennix in Tamil Nadu, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court of India, seeking elaborate guidelines to ensure prevention of custodial torture.
The writ petition filed in public interest states that the Tamil Nadu incident "underlines afresh the urgent need for institutional correctives within the policing system in this country and the acute need for India to enact a strong law to prohibit and prosecute cases of torture and custodial deaths, in fulfillment of its legal obligations, both national and international, to guarantee protection to right to life".
The petition filed by People's Charioteer Organization (PCO), through its Secretary, Legal Cell, Mr. Devesh Saxena, Advocate, laments that "we failed to eliminate the colonial attitude of our police".
The plea states that despite the guidelines of the SC in the DK Basu case, custodial torture is continuing unabated.
"...there are gaping legal lacunae in the legal, legislative and statutory framework of India, owing to which the we're witnessing a prevailing epidemic of Custodial Violence/Rapes/Torture, at the hands of certain our men in uniforms, which equates to nothing but a blatant violation and mockery of Human Rights, legitimized, facilitated and perpetrated by the State Machinery", the plea states.
The petitioner states that there has been a lack of implementation of the guidelines as passed by SC in cases of Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006 8 SCC 1) and D. K. Basu v. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 416.
In this backdrop, the petitioner prays for issuance and laying down of guidelines to fill the gaping lacunae in the Indian Legal System, and for ensuring an effective and purposeful framework and its enforcement to fulfill the constitutional obligation of ensuring and securing the right to life and to live with human dignity and the prevention of custodial torture/deaths/rapes, in exercise of the plenary and inherent power of the Supreme Court, under Article 142 of the Constitution of India;
The petitioner also prays for a direction, to the Central Government to form an Independent Committee monitored by the Supreme Court, consisting of members from all the relevant departments/ministries to review the entire legal framework and find pitfalls in the existing legal framework in order to curb the menace of custodial torture/deaths/rapes, so as to enable rehauling of the legislative mechanisms in consonance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, with due regard to the recommendations of the Law Commission(s) and the International Legal Regime.
The petition has been drawn by Shashwat Anand, Advocate.