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SC expresses anguish on custodial torture, deaths
Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:12:40 PM, UNI
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed shock and anguish at the brutality of the police personnel, who tortured and thrashed to death two young man, who were in the custody at Doddapet police station in Shimoga city, Karnataka.
Deceased Raja Kumar had received as many as 40 injuries while Gurumurthi received 24 injuries and third accused Parkash had also received serious injuries over 22 years ago on January 12, 1988.
The victims were taken into custody when some engineering college students had a fight with them on the night of December 31, 1987 during the new year celebrations. Trial court vide its judgement dated July 28, 1995 sentenced nine police officials, including seven constables and a head constable, to life imprisonment.
The Karnataka High Court, however, had reduced the sentence to two-years imprisonment by converting their offence from section 302 IPC (murder) to section (304) Part-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
A bench comprising Justices Harjit Singh Bedi and J M Panchal while dismissing the appeals of K H Shekarappa and others noted, ''Though several constitutional and statutory provisions have been enacted to safeguard the personal liberty and life of citizens, incidents of torture and death in the police custody are ever on the rise.''
''Inspite of the condemnation of such act by this court and High Courts, certain police officials conduct themselves in a manner resulting into gruesome torture and death of suspects in the police custody,'' the bench observed.
Justice Panchal while writing a 41-page judgement for the bench, copies of which were made available to the media today for further notice, said, ''There is no doubt that these are the most heinous crimes committed by people, who claim to be the protector of the citizens.''
''What is distressing to note is that the incidents of torture and death in the police custody take place under the shield of uniform and authority in the four walls of a police station or in the lockup where the victims are totally helpless,'' he contended.
The apex court, while dismissing the appeals of the police personnel, noted that the well-recorded conviction of the appellant as well as sentences imposed upon them for commission of those offences will have to be upheld as the deceased had died due to cruel thrashing given by the petitioner.
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