Megh HC | Court demands complete list of persons who have died in custody since 2012 from State  

Meghalaya High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and H.S. Thangkhiew, J. continued hearing a PIL pursuant to the order dated March 31, 2022, wherein an executive summary of the more detailed report filed earlier had been submitted and the particulars of the persons who have died in custody from 2012 have apparently been indicated in tabular form.

The Bench noted that there appeared to be no death in year 2012 and the State should again confirm the same. Amicus Curiae pointed out that several of the names indicated in the table just furnished by the State do not figure in the earlier reports. The Court found it necessary that the heirs of such persons whose names have been disclosed as persons who died in custody for the first time today, should be impleaded as parties. The Court directed that the State should furnish the particulars of such heirs so that they may be impleaded in the present proceedings and, upon due compensation being decided, the rightful persons may obtain the same.

The Amicus Curiae brought the attention of the Court to the fact that an affidavit affirmed on February 26, 2018, by the then Under Secretary to the State, the office of the Director of Health Services (MI) indicated the names of five persons who had suffered custodial death in the years 2013 and 2014, though the year of death of the fifth person was not indicated in the table appended to the relevant affidavit; but these names do not figure in the voluminous particulars filed on behalf of the State now. Such five names have also not been included in the table appended to the executive summary, though the affidavit in support thereof claims the table to be the exhaustive list of persons who have died in custody in the State since 2012.

The Court directed that a further affidavit should be filed by the Inspector-General of Prisons indicating the complete list of persons who have died in custody since 2012 also confirming that there has been no custodial death other than those indicated in such affidavit so that if any anomaly is found or any further name discovered, appropriate action may be taken against the Inspector-General. The matter is due for hearing on 02-05-2022.[Suo motu custodial  violence & other matters relating to prison conditions v. State of Meghalaya, PIL No. 9 of 2017, order dated: 13-04-2022]

For the Petitioner: Dr. N. Mozika, Amicus Curiae

For the Respondents: Mr K. Khan, Sr. GA with Mr A. Kharwanlang, GA, Mr S.A. Sheikh, Ms P. Agarwal,  Mr S. Deb

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

One comment

  • Custodial deaths are not expected in a democracy. The criminals in uniform need to be dealt with an iron hand

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