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Thursday, July 09, 2020

TN custodial deaths: Judicial magistrate should be dismissed, says former Madras HC judge

Justice K Chandru claimed the alleged police torture was an outcome of a new power structure that has taken shape after the lockdown.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: June 27, 2020 4:12:45 pm
Tamil Nadu family’s last memory of father, son: blood-soaked, police around Justice Chandru claimed the alleged police torture was an outcome of a new power structure that has taken shape after the lockdown.

Sathankulam Judicial Magistrate B Saravanan should be dismissed from service for judicial impropriety, violation of Supreme Court guidelines on arrest, and for the clear case of misconduct, said K Chandru, retired judge of the Madras High Court. He was referring to the alleged custodial deaths of a father and son at Sathankulam, near Thoothukudi, earlier this week.

After the first watch dog “police” had abused their power, Justice Chandru said, the magistrate too was defeating the judicial system by not following SC guidelines of arrest.

Also Read | Tamil Nadu family’s last memory of father, son: blood-soaked, police around

The magistrate of Sathankulam cannot wash off his hands saying there were no complaints from the accused when they were produced, he added.

Tamil Nadu custodial death, Sathankulam custodial death, Sathankulam protests, father son custodial death, Jayaraj Fenix, Tamil Nadu news, indian express, Thoothukudi, Thoothukudi custodial death Trader union bodies, various political outfits, activists, and the local public staged protests in various parts of Sathankulam. (Express photo)

“If they were severely injured and bleeding, the magistrate should have probed those injuries. The magistrate should have questioned the police even if the father and son were seen limping. It was the job of the magistrate. The Sathankulam judicial magistrate who let down the law and Constitution of the country should be dismissed from service,” he said.

Also Read | DMK MP Kanimozhi writes to NHRC over ‘custodial death’ of shopkeeper, son

Justice Chandru said the 11 commandments in the D K Basu Vs State of Bengal case was mandated by the SC to follow as guideline across India. “No accused in custody will have the courage to tell the magistrate that he was tortured in custody. It was the job of the magistrate to check on the accused. He should have asked them why they were seemingly unwell, why there were injuries or bleeding, whether the police informed their relatives before remand, and if they had a lawyer. These elementary constitutional rights should have been ensured by the magistrate,” he said.

Justice Chandru claimed the alleged police torture was an outcome of a new power structure that has taken shape after the lockdown. “The entire power is now in the hands of police and bureaucrats. The situation is such that even the opposition leader is limited to his house entrance to protest against the state. Still, it was the backing of a powerful traders community like Nadars that triggered protests across the state for victims in this case. But similar violations may be taking place…. And even the court is not helping here,” he said.

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