INTRODUCTION: For a long time, torture and abuse by police officers in detention have been a major concern. In many countries of the world, including India, the incidence of such instances has risen over time. It is true that cops utilize third-degree procedures to extract confessions and statements from suspects. Such tactics frequently result in significant injury, if not death. It is also a truth that victims are driven to commit suicide because they are unable to tolerate such agony and humiliation.

Following the horrific execution of George Floyd in the United States and the detention deaths of Jayaraj and Benix in Tamil Nadu, India, there has been widespread outrage and calls for police reforms and the implementation of proper measures to hold negligent officials accountable.

WHAT IS CUSTODIAL DEATH?: Custodial deaths occur when someone is imprisoned by the police before a trial or after a conviction. Deaths in custody can be divided into three categories:-

  1. death in police custody;
  2. death in judicial custody; and
  3. death in the army or paramilitary detention.

Custodial Death is a term used to describe death that occurs while a person is being tried for a crime or has already been convicted of one. It might be due to natural causes such as illness, or it can be caused by suicide or infighting among prisoners, but in many cases, it is due to police violence and torture.

This is a contentious and complicated matter. The victims are frequently tortured before they are arrested, i.e. before they are taken into custody, which allows the police to claim that the injuries occurred prior to the arrest. Fake encounters are sometimes used to kill victims before they are arrested. This is also a type of incarcerated death, which is difficult to verify. The most noteworthy feature is that all evidence and records are kept by the police, with very little outside evidence available. As a result, detecting custodial violence and the deaths that arise from it is extremely difficult.

Custodial fatalities are one of the most serious instances of human rights abuse. It is a direct attack on the Indian Constitution’s protection of the right to life and liberty. It is the responsibility of the separate states to protect the lives of the accused and prisoners.

CUSTODIAL DEATHS IN INDIA: According to data, 1,727 people died in police custody (including those on judicial remand) and those who were arrested but not yet brought before a court between 2001 and 2018. Every year, on average, 96 people die in jail.

According to the India Annual Report on Torture 2019, there were 1,731 deaths in India’s detention facilities. There were 1,606 persons killed in judicial custody and 125 killed in police custody. This works up to around five deaths every day. The majority of these persons are from underprivileged groups that lack the economic and social resources to combat police brutality.

LEGAL PROVISIONS AGAINST CUSTODIAL TORTURE IN INDIA: The Indian Constitution and judicial system include several safeguards against incarceration torture:-

Ex-Post Facto Law: According to Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution, “no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor shall any person be subjected to any greater penalty than that which might have been inflicted under the law in effect at the time the act charged as an offence was committed.”

Protection from Double Jeopardy: According to Article 20(2) of the Constitution, no one may be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.

Right not to testify against himself: According to Article 20(3) of the Constitution, no accused person can be forced to testify against himself. This is critical because it serves as a protection against coercion and torture in getting evidence from the accused.

Under Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act (1872), the investigating officer is prohibited from making any inducement, threat, or promise, but he is also prohibited from forcing any person to make any statement that he would like to make on his own free will under Section 163 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Among other things, Section 348 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, bans wrongful imprisonment for the purpose of extorting any confession or information for the purpose of detecting any infraction or misbehaviour. Wrongful detention is now a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison and monetary punishment.

Although Article 21 of the Indian Constitution (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) does not directly prohibit custodial torture, its scope is fairly broad. This right states that no one can be deprived of their life or personal liberty until they follow the legal procedure. The right comprises a constitutional guarantee against torture, assault, or harm, and thus serves as a deterrent to torture and violence in detention.

CONCLUSION: Torture has remained a popular weapon in the hands of police enforcement to collect information and confessions, as well as to oppress underprivileged groups of society. In India, the police force enjoys a high level of impunity, and all administrations prefer not to set a precedent by inflicting exemplary punishments on responsible employees for the simple reason that any government’s functioning is heavily dependant on law enforcement forces. As a result, no government wants to offend them. On the other hand, the Executive fails to recognize that the people are the ultimate source of power and that the police, paramilitary, and army are all public servants.


Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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