Custodial Violence & Custodial Death

The term custodial violence has not been defined under any law. It is a combination of two word custody and violence. The word ‘custody’ implies guardianship and protective care. Even when applied to indicate arrest or imprisonment, it does not carry any evil symptoms during custody. In a law dictionary the word ‘custody’; has been defined as charge and with regard to a person in imprisonment: judicial or penal safekeeping.

Custodial violence primarily refers to violence in police custody and judicial custody. Besides death, rape and torture are two other forms of custodial violence. Custodial violence is not a recent phenomenon. Sections 330, 331 & 348 of IPC; Sections 25 & 26 of the Indian Evidence Act; Section 76 of CrPC and Section 29 of the Police Act, 1861 were enacted to curb the tendency of policemen to resort to torture to extract confessions etc.

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, between 2001 and 2018, only 26 policemen were convicted of custodial violence despite 1,727 such deaths being recorded in India.

Causes of Custodial Violence

1. Work Pressure

The police in India has to perform a difficult and delicate task in view of the deteriorating law and order situation, riots, political turmoil, student unrest, terrorist activities, increasing incidence of bribery, corruption, tax evasion , violation of fiscal laws, smuggling and money-laundering.

2. Greed for Money

This is the most hateful reason for custodial torture and one that seems to be on the increase. At the level of Police Station, a number of Policeman use brutality to extract money from suspects and innocent persons.

3. Punitive Violence

There are few honest but misguided policemen who believe in not letting the criminal get away with it. It is genuinely believed by them that except for a sound beating, there is no other way of controlling criminals.

4. Lack of Proper Training

Lack of proper training to the Police officials, often result in use of third degree methods. The utterly inadequate training given to constables, the general absence of any attention to the necessity for keeping temper, being civil and respectful to the public, avoiding brutality or unnecessary harshness, are the factors that which leads to violence.

History of Cases

In the movie Jai Bhim, Rajakannu, a person belonging to the Irular tribe, is arrested on false fees of theft, together with two different male relations, who was then subjected to custodial torture which led to his death while in custody.

There have been other cases that have startled the nation. In June last year, both P. Jeyaraj, 58, and his son Bennix, 38, were arrested for allegedly violating COVID-19 lockdown rules by keeping their store open past the allowed hours in Tamil Nadu.Two days later, they died of alleged police brutality.


Custodial violence and custodial deaths is not a new phenomenon. It is prevailing in our society from the ages. Despite several initiatives in recent years, torture and ill treatment continues to be endemic throughout India and continues to deny human dignity to thousands of individuals. Custodial torture has become so common these days that not only the police and bureaucracy but even people take it for granted as a routine police practice of interrogation. The result is that the news of such outrageous conduct causes nothing more than a momentary shock in the society. When a custodial death occurs, there is a public uproar, which either dies down with time or at the most subsided by constituting an inquiring committee.

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.

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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.

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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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