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April 16 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Custodial death, the tragic demise of an individual under the watch of law enforcement or correctional facilities, remains a pressing issue in India. This phenomenon raises concerns about human rights violations, abuse of power, and the need for legal reforms to ensure justice and accountability. 

About Custodial Death 

  • Definition: Death occurring when an individual is in the custody of law enforcement or correctional facilities. 
  • Causes: Excessive force, neglect, abuse, or incidental factors. 


  • Police Custody: Due to excessive force, torture, or denial of medical care. 
  • Judicial Custody: Overcrowding, poor hygiene, lack of medical facilities, or inmate violence. 
  • Army/Paramilitary Custody: Torture or extrajudicial killings. 

Why is Restricting Custodial Deaths Necessary? 

  • Human Rights Violation: Contradicts the right to fair treatment and protection from torture. 
  • International Obligations: India’s commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). 
  • Extradition Challenges: Hinders extradition proceedings for economic offenders, e.g., Vijay Mallya. 
  • Mental Health Impact: Traumatic experiences can lead to severe psychological distress. 

Constitutional and Legal Safeguards 

Constitutional Provisions: 

  • Article 21: Right to life and personal liberty, includes protection from torture. 
  • Article 20: Protection against arbitrary punishment, double jeopardy, and self-incrimination. 
  • Selvi v. State of Karnataka: Consent required for narco-analysis, polygraph, and brain-mapping tests. 

Legal Protections: 

  • Section 24, Indian Evidence Act: Confessions under threat are inadmissible. 
  • Sections 330 and 331, IPC: Criminalize causing hurt or grievous hurt for extracting confession. 
  • Section 41, CrPC: Safeguards for transparent arrests, protection, and legal representation. 

International Conventions Against Custodial Torture 

  • International Human Rights Law, 1948: Protection against torture and enforced disappearances. 
  • United Nations Charter, 1945: Dignified treatment of prisoners, respecting fundamental freedoms. 
  • Nelson Mandela Rules, 2015: Prohibition of torture and ill-treatment. 
  • UNCAT: Global treaty to prevent torture and inhuman treatment. 

Measures to Combat Custodial Torture 

Strengthening Legal Systems: 

  • Enact Comprehensive Legislation: Criminalize custodial torture as directed in Prakash Singh Case 2006. 
  • Separate Investigation and Law and Order: Improve policing, establish State Security Commissions (SSC), and a National Security Commission. 

Police Reforms and Sensitization: 

  • Enhanced Training: Emphasize human rights, professionalism, and empathy. 
  • Culture of Accountability: Promote transparency and accountability in law enforcement. 
  • Oversight Mechanisms: Monitor and address custodial torture cases effectively. 

Empowering Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations: 

  • Active Advocacy: Civil society organizations should advocate for victims of custodial torture. 
  • NHRC Expansion: Extend jurisdiction to cases of human rights violations by armed forces and allow inquiries even after a year. 
  • Legal Assistance: Provide support and legal aid to victims and families. 

Collaboration with International Bodies: 

  • Seek Redress and Justice: Collaborate with global human rights bodies and organizations to address custodial torture cases effectively. 

Mains Question

  1. Discuss the significance of strengthening legal frameworks and implementing police reforms to address custodial deaths in India. (150 WORDS)


April 16
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category:
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