Bombay HC gives ‘last chance’ to state to take a call on CCTVs inside police lock-ups

The court also directed the state government to appoint a special public prosecutor, assisted by a woman prosecutor.

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai | Published: November 19, 2014 3:29:02 am

The Bombay High Court Tuesday offered a “last chance” to the state government and asked the state to take a decision on the installation of CCTVs inside police stations, a move that is aimed at curbing police torture and custodial deaths.

Following state government’s response seeking time in the light of the formation of a new government, amicus curiae and one of the petitioner’s lawyer, Dr Yug Chaudhry told the HC that there have been more custodial deaths in the mean time.

Chaudhry, who appeared for Leonard Valdaris, whose 24-year-old son Agnelo was allegedly tortured and killed in police custody, said the government in the process of installing CCTVs in the reception area. Agnelo and three others, including a minor, were also allegedly sexually abused in the lock-up.

The court had transferred the probe in the case to the CBI.

“Who is answerable when more deaths take place in the meantime,” said Chaudhry.

Justices V M Kanade and Anuja Prabhudessai were hearing a bunch of petitions raising issue of custodial deaths in police stations.

In one of the matters, Chaudhry said the state had admitted “on affidavit” it was a custodial death and even went on to suspend five policemen, but had not provided compensation. The affidavit did not even have the medical papers till the post-mortem stage, he argued.

“Atleast you take a decision and tell us that you have taken a decision,” the HC said, while four weeks’ time to the state government. The judges also directed the state to produce all medical papers of the victim in of the cases.

The court had earlier observed that if a person dies in police custody and injuries are found on his body, an FIR must be registered immediately and action should be taken against the perpetrators of the offence. The court had further said that a magisterial inquiry must be initiated to ensure no evidence is tampered with.

The court also directed the state government to appoint a special public prosecutor, assisted by a woman prosecutor, to try such cases.

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