Threat to human rights and bodily integrity highest in police stations: CJI NV Ramana

He highlighted that instance of custodial torture, deaths, inadequate legal representation are still prevalent in our society

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 “The threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in police stations. Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems which still prevail in our society. Inspite of constitutional declarations and guarantees, lack of effective legal representation at the police stations is a huge detriment to the arrested and detained persons,” said Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana at an event organised by the National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA).

He referred to some reports to highlight the deplorable state in the country, and said that even the privileged sections are not spared third degree treatment in police stations. He added that the dissemination of information about the constitutional right to legal aid is significant in keeping police excesses in check.

“The installation of display boards and outdoor hoardings in every police station is a step in this direction”, he remarked. However, CJI Ramana said that NALSA must also actively carry out nationwide sensitisation of police officers, as issues of human rights and dignity are sacrosanct.

The event that took place on August 8, was organised by NALSA to release its vision and mission statement along with the legal services’ mobile application. Besides CJI Ramana, Supreme Court judge, Justice UU Lalit, the Executive Chairman of the NALSA was also present.

Further, the CJI also highlighted the importance of legal aid that had its roots in the freedom movement when legal luminaries rendered pro-bono services to freedom fighters, who were targeted by the colonial rulers. He said for a society to be governed by the rule of law, “it is imperative for us to bridge the gap of accessibility to justice between the highly privileged and the most vulnerable…We must remember that the realities of socio-economic diversity which prevail in our nation, cannot ever be a reason for denial of rights.”

Towards the end of the speech, he urged all lawyers, especially seniors, to dedicate some percentage of their working hours to help those in need. “No institution, how big or noble, can be successful, unless it is ably aided by all the stakeholders to turn it into a public movement,” he concluded.

During the ongoing monsoon session, the Centre has informed the Parliament that between 2020 to 2021, as many as 1,840 deaths in judicial custody have been recorded across all states and Union Territories, and 100 deaths have been recorded in police custody, reported SabrangIndia. The state with the highest tally of judicial custody deaths is Uttar Pradesh (443), followed by West Bengal (177), Bihar (156) and Madhya Pradesh (155). Gujarat has reported the highest number of police custodial deaths between 2020 and 2021 at 17, followed by Maharashtra (13) and Madhya Pradesh (8).

Furthermore, the number of judicial custodial deaths have been increasing over the years as 1,797 cases were recorded between 2018 and 2019, and 1,584 cases were reported between 2019 and 2020. 

The speech delivered by CJI NV Ramana may be viewed here:


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