Plea in SC seeks Centre to form independent panel to review legal framework to curb custodial death, torture, rape
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court urging it to lay guidelines to fill the legal lacunae surrounding custodial deaths, tortures and rapes.
The plea filed by an NGO, People's Charioteer Organisation sought directions to the Centre to form an independent committee and monitored by the Supreme Court, which can review the existing legal framework around custodial deaths, tortures and rapes.
"Central Government to form an Independent Committee monitored by this Court consisting of members from all the relevant departments/ministries which can review the entire legal framework and find pitfalls in the existing legal framework in order to curb the menace of custodial torture/deaths/rapes, so as to enable rehauling of the legislative mechanisms in consonance with the guidelines laid down by this Court with due regard to the recommendations of the Law Commission(s) International Legal Regime," added the plea.
The plea was filed in wake of the custodial torture and death of father-son duo, P Jayaraj and J Bennix, who were detained by the Sathankulam Police in Tamil Nadu on June 19 for keeping their mobile phone shop open beyond the permissible hours during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The petition stated that this incident has "traumatised" all those who respect the rule of law and personal liberty in the country.
It contended that there is the urgent need for "institutional correctives within the policing system" in this country and the acute need for India to enact a strong law to prohibit and prosecute cases of torture and custodial deaths, in fulfilment of its legal obligations, both national and international, to guarantee protection to the right to life.
"It sends an unfortunate chilling message about how broken the system is and the failure of police and political leaders to establish accountability measures for those who are found guilty of custodial crimes," it further said.
The petition added that custodial torture, deaths and rapes are a chilling reminder of how the excessive use of force has become a routine in India leading to deaths.