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Former Calcutta HC judge, DK Basu, passes away

He was also the petitioner in the groundbreaking DK Basu case, that laid down guidelines to prevent custodial torture

Sabrangindia 10 May 2021

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

Justice DK Basu, the petitioner in the landmark case DK Basu vs State of Bengal (1997), and a retired Calcutta High Court judge breathed his last on May 9.

Justice Basu practiced at the Supreme Court, till he was elevated as a judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1987. He had also served as the Chairman of Legal Aid Services West Bengal (LASWEB) and as the Chairman of the National Committee for Legal Aid Services India.

He had written a letter to the then Chief Justice of India, Justice P. N. Bhagwati, highlighting custodial torture and deaths that occurred in custody and lock-ups. CJI Bhagwati had then taken cognisance of the letter and converted it into a writ petition in 1987.

This led to the court noting, “In almost every state there are allegations and these allegations are now increasing in frequency of deaths in custody described generally by newspapers as lock-up deaths. At present there does not appear to be any machinery to effectively deal with such allegations. Since this is an all-India question concerning all States, it is desirable to issue notices to all the State Governments to find out whether they desire to say anything in the matter.”

A slew of guidelines was issued by the Court on arrests and detention of accused persons, which holds value and relevance till today. They are:

1. The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags of their designation.

2. The Police officer must always carry a memo of arrest during arrest and it shall be signed by the arrested person, with his/her sign, date and time of arrest.

3. A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock up, shall be entitled to have at least one relative known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular station.

4. The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town through the Legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.

5. The person arrested must be informed why he is being arrested and made aware of his right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest or is detained.

6. An arrest diary must be made at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names and particulars of the police officials in whose custody the arrestee is.

7. The arrestee should, where he requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/her body, must be recorded. The Inspection Memo must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee.

8. The arrestee must also be examined by a medical practitioner within every 48 hours in custody.

9. Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.

10. The person arrested has a right to meet a lawyer during the interrogation, although not for the whole time.

11. There should be a police control room in every District and State headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the person arrested must be sent by the arresting officer. This must be done within 12 hours of the arrest.

Related:

Revisiting DK Basu: The most relevant judgment of all time
Monitoring the condition of Indian prisons
Dr Mahavir Narwal, father of jailed anti-CAA activist Natasha Narwal, dies of Covid

Former Calcutta HC judge, DK Basu, passes away

He was also the petitioner in the groundbreaking DK Basu case, that laid down guidelines to prevent custodial torture

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

Justice DK Basu, the petitioner in the landmark case DK Basu vs State of Bengal (1997), and a retired Calcutta High Court judge breathed his last on May 9.

Justice Basu practiced at the Supreme Court, till he was elevated as a judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1987. He had also served as the Chairman of Legal Aid Services West Bengal (LASWEB) and as the Chairman of the National Committee for Legal Aid Services India.

He had written a letter to the then Chief Justice of India, Justice P. N. Bhagwati, highlighting custodial torture and deaths that occurred in custody and lock-ups. CJI Bhagwati had then taken cognisance of the letter and converted it into a writ petition in 1987.

This led to the court noting, “In almost every state there are allegations and these allegations are now increasing in frequency of deaths in custody described generally by newspapers as lock-up deaths. At present there does not appear to be any machinery to effectively deal with such allegations. Since this is an all-India question concerning all States, it is desirable to issue notices to all the State Governments to find out whether they desire to say anything in the matter.”

A slew of guidelines was issued by the Court on arrests and detention of accused persons, which holds value and relevance till today. They are:

1. The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name tags of their designation.

2. The Police officer must always carry a memo of arrest during arrest and it shall be signed by the arrested person, with his/her sign, date and time of arrest.

3. A person who has been arrested or detained and is being held in custody in a police station or interrogation centre or other lock up, shall be entitled to have at least one relative known to him or having interest in his welfare being informed, as soon as practicable, that he has been arrested and is being detained at the particular station.

4. The time, place of arrest and venue of custody of an arrestee must be notified by the police where the next friend or relative of the arrestee lives outside the district or town through the Legal Aid Organisation in the District and the police station of the area concerned telegraphically within a period of 8 to 12 hours after the arrest.

5. The person arrested must be informed why he is being arrested and made aware of his right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is put under arrest or is detained.

6. An arrest diary must be made at the place of detention regarding the arrest of the person which shall also disclose the name of the next friend of the person who has been informed of the arrest and the names and particulars of the police officials in whose custody the arrestee is.

7. The arrestee should, where he requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/her body, must be recorded. The Inspection Memo must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee.

8. The arrestee must also be examined by a medical practitioner within every 48 hours in custody.

9. Copies of all the documents including the memo of arrest, referred to above, should be sent to the Magistrate for his record.

10. The person arrested has a right to meet a lawyer during the interrogation, although not for the whole time.

11. There should be a police control room in every District and State headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the person arrested must be sent by the arresting officer. This must be done within 12 hours of the arrest.

Related:

Revisiting DK Basu: The most relevant judgment of all time
Monitoring the condition of Indian prisons
Dr Mahavir Narwal, father of jailed anti-CAA activist Natasha Narwal, dies of Covid

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