Everyone wants to live their lives with equality, dignity, liberty, and freedom. The Constitution of India confers the same to every citizen of the country. The Constitution guarantees ‘PROTECTION OF PERSONAL LIFE AND LIBERTY.’ As per the Indian Constitution, one has the right to enjoy his/her life the way the person wants. Everyone wants to live life with full freedom and happiness. But there are some scenarios which have caused a disturbance in the society at large. The worst thing that can happen to someone is ‘Torture.’ It is one of the heinous crimes which can affect the person to the core. The torture is not limited to physical injury, but it involves mental damage as well. The worst part lies that one remains silent for himself. In other words, it is a denial of the situation. The physical torture is visible via scars, ruptured skin or damaged body. But in case of mental torture, it is invisible or it results in depression or stress or anxiety.
In case of torture, one party has an
upper hand and another party has the lower hand. One party will find a way to torture the other and
then deny it.
But the question which arises – Is torture only restricted to matrimonial crimes or whether is it between the family members. The answer to the question is no. Torture is a broader concept. When someone hears the word torture they will always jump to the matrimonial grounds. But what about the prisoners or persons in police custody? Are they safe in the custody or the jails? The answer is the question is no.
What is Custodian Torture?
When a crime takes place, there is always an interrogation by the police. The interrogation is done to find out the truth. In an interrogation people who are not related to the crime but they have witnessed it may speak the truth. But in some cases there are people who will try to find ways to avoid it by making fake stories like they are not involved, they did not know each other, etc. The police while the investigation may find that certain can be responsible for such a crime. They take these people in custody so that the truth can be revealed. It does not seem to be rosy as it can be thought off. In order to find the truth, the police take them. When the police do not get the desired answer, they find ways to find so. First, they threaten or warn the person of the repercussions which may occur and when this does not work the police approaches the formula of violence in generic terms means Custodian violence and in other terminology, it is also known as the third-degree torture.
From the above one can interpret what is Custodian violence. Custodian violence/torture is the heinous crime in which the person in custody is tortured by the police officer who has his custody. The officer pressurizes the person in custody, to tell the truth, and it becomes physical. It is not limited to beating; there can be rape as well. The Custodian violence is not limited to the injuries or the scars but it can result in someone’s death as well.
It has been found in many cases that the Custodian violence has resulted in the death of the persons under the custody. There is always a denial of Custodian violence and death. India has a signed a treaty of the UN regarding the Custodian torture and violence. The irony to it is that India is the member of UNHRC that is United Nations Human Rights Council from the Asian Pacific Category. But still, there has been no sign of humanity.
Human Rights and Custodian Torture:
Human Rights are the basic rights which are entitled to human beings. These basic rights include the right to life, freedom, liberty, equality, etc. The human rights embarked to be the most important so that people can live their life as they want to. They are applicable to all the people. In most of the countries, human rights are considered to be fundamental rights. In India, human rights are legal rights. Every citizen of the country is entitling to it. In India, all the fundamental rights are human rights but all human rights are not fundamental rights.
Does the question arise that whether the prisoners have human rights or not? The answer to the question is yes; even the prisoners have human rights. In India, once the person is taken into the custody guilty or not is treated miserably. Police do not give food, water to the persons in custody. They only torture them.
These acts have been condemned by the Court. As per the court, it is illegal to harm any person in the custody or leading them to death. In one of the judgments, the court also held that these crimes are to be punished as murder and strict punishment should be given. In another case, it was considered as rarest of the rare case and the death penalty was given for the murder.
In India, an autonomous body has been set up known as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to protect the human rights of the citizens under the Human Rights Act. As per the latest reports of the NHRC, there has been a significant increase in the Custodian deaths in India. The report also states that in majority cases the persons who die may not be the actual culprits and police without actual evidence torture these people..
Custodian Torture in India: Present Scenario
Custodian torture has been the most concerned issue in India. Every person gets horrified if they are called by the police. Many such incidents resulted in either death or rape or both. In one of the cases, the person was caught hold by the police and he became a murder suspect. He was held captive in worst conditions along with that his wife also got raped. Eventually, the person died in police custody. In it was reported that every year about 98 people have died in police custody. States like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab are the States with the number of Custodian deaths whereas States like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh are the States with fewer Custodian deaths.
In one of the cases, two brothers were accused of the counterfeiting currency were taken into police custody. First, they were asked by the police about the crime. When he did not reply the police decided to take the matter in their hands. They decided to give them the third-degree torture. The police took some water and started putting it into the noses of those the accused. One of the accused lost his senses and fainted but the police thought that he died. The police officials became paranoid over the situation, and they bought a packet of something and put that it in the mouth of the fainted accused. The police later stated that the accused had died of poisoning himself. .
Not only incidents one can see reel life incidents of Custodian torture. There are various crime thriller movies inspired by the true-life incidents have shown the Custodian torture. Some of the movies are Mulk, Gangajal, Maachis, Satya, etc.
The scenario of Custodian deaths has become the worst. Day by day the number has been increasing leading to in the number of crime rates. Following chart shows the number of Custodian deaths in 12 states.
One cannot imagine that interrogation for a crime can result in the death of a person. These deaths do include the deaths of those persons who are the suspect to that case. The police officials think that it is their right that some torture would lead the persons to speak the truth. There is no intensity to it. The Court many times has condemned the same and that there has been no stricter provision in order to reduce such crimes. These Custodian deaths have resulted in suicides; therefore, the officials are never convicted for the same. People are not listening to the culprits who also human rights.
The custodian is the deepest and the darkest secret of the police department. One must also that like us the offenders do have rights. They have the right to live with peace and harmony in the jails. The jails are the institutions where prisoners are kept till the time they are punished for so that when into the world after finishing their sentence should live peacefully and with good character.
There should be stricter laws for the commission of Custodian torture. There should be a visit by the higher authorities to check whether the prisoners are in safe hands or not. The human rights activists should spread more awareness regarding Custodian torture and deaths. The supporting rights should also visit jails and juvenile houses to see if there is any Custodian torturing going on.
Every person has a right to live their own lives with freedom and dignity. Nobody can take such freedom from someone. There should be a system of checks and balances so that in the near future nobody should face such a side in their lives