Tamil Nadu custodial deaths: DMK urges Amit Shah to ensure passage of prevention of torture bill

The draft of the bill, which seeks life in jail for public servants convicted of torture, was prepared by the Law Commission to implement the UN Convention against Torture.

Press Trust of India July 02, 2020 21:22:58 IST
Tamil Nadu custodial deaths: DMK urges Amit Shah to ensure passage of prevention of torture bill

In wake of the alleged custodial death of a father-son duo in Tamil Nadu, DMK MP A Raja on Thursday wrote a letter to Union Home minister Amit Shah requesting the introduction of Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 in the forthcoming session of parliament.

The draft of the bill which seeks life in jail for public servants convicted of torture was prepared by the Law Commission to implement the United Nations Convention against torture.

P Jayaraj and his son Bennicks, arrested for allegedly violating lockdown norms over the business hours of their cellphone shop in Tuticorin district, died at a hospital on 23 June, with the relatives alleging that they were severely thrashed at the Sathankulam Police Station by the personnel earlier.

The incident triggered a nationwide furore leading to the suspension of five policemen including an inspector and two sub-inspectors. The Superintendent of Police of Tuticorin was shunted out of the district and placed under "compulsory wait".

Deploring the incident, the DMK MP in the letter said the custodial death has raised "eyebrows due to the sheer scale of torture and violence perpetrated by the Tamil Nadu Police."

Underlining that custodial death is one of the worst crimes in civilised society, Raja requested Shah to make sure that the bill is enacted in parliament in the forthcoming session.

"In these circumstances, on behalf of the DMK, it is prayed that the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 may be processed judiciously and enacted in the parliament with additional provisions (if necessary) to address the issues emerged in the Santhankulam, incident in the forthcoming session itself or promulgate an ordinance through presidential route," Raja said in the letter.

Raja, a lawyer himself, said the Supreme Court had also issued detailed guidelines to safeguard the rights of an arrestee as well as to curb the unauthorised arrests or tortures by the police officers.

Arrests should be made to secure the orchestration of law, but the safeguarding of human rights -- be it an innocent or an accused -- is paramount, he added.

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