The Bombay High Court ordered today to club together the petitions on custodial deaths pending in the court for hearing them together. A high court bench headed by Justice V M Kanade took the decision while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Indian Centre for Human Rights and Law alleging rise in the number of custodial deaths and seeking action to prevent them. The bench took the decision after it was informed by Public Prosecutor Mankuvar Deshmukh that there were more of similar petitions on custodial deaths pending in the court. Earlier the public prosecutor informed the high court that the number of custodial deaths in the state had come down to 10 in 2016 from 18 in 2015.
While noting the fall in the number of custodial deaths, the bench, however, observed that such cases should come down to zero.
While perusing the government figures on custodial deaths, the court said it appears that more often than not the accused in petty offences fall prey to the custodial deaths.
The bench also suggested that the accused should not be interrogated during nights.
Deshmukh submitted that the state government has appointed forensic medical experts in 26 districts all over the state to supervise autopsies and conduct forensic tests.
Besides, steps were being taken by the state government to install Close Camera Television (CCTV) sets in police stations and prisons, she told the court. After the hearing, the matter was adjourned for four weeks.
The high court, in 2015, had directed the state government to install CCTV sets in police stations and prisons and also asked the state to submit a monthly list of custodial deaths which occur in prisons and lock ups in police stations.