Date: 3 January, 2021
by Ambica Sharma, TIPS, Dwarka
CONSTITUIONAL & STATUTORY RIGHTS OF AN ARRESTED & DETAINED PERSON:
The Constitution and other statutes have assured certain rights to the arrested and detained persons which are as follows:
Right to be informed of the ground of arrest, (Article 22(2) of Indian Constitution and Section 50(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure(Crpc)
Right to be defended by a lawyer of his choice and to consult a lawyer, (Article 22(1))
Person arrested not to be detained more than twenty- four hours (Section 57 of CrPC).
Rights to be released on Bail (Section 50(2) CrPC).
Rights to a fair trial without facing any biases (Article 14 guarantees right to equality).
Right to free Legal Aid (Article 39A)
Right to remain silent or confess (Article 20(3) protects a person from self-incrimination).
NATURE, EXTENT AND REASONS OF PUBLIC ATROCITIES:
Despite the rights as mentioned in the previous slide, there has been continued police brutality and torture during the past two decades. It seems that custodians of law have become the law-breakers. After 1980’s, lathi wielding police and usage of third degree methods by them have become the order of the day.
I. Police atrocities during the emergency:
During the emergency period in March 1976, a satyagrahi was taken into custody by the police, but no registration of a case was made against him. He was kept in illegal confinement for a couple of days during which he was subjected to varied sorts of physical torture.
In Kerala, police atrocities took an ugly turn, prisoners were forced to strip to their underwear and were beaten by a group of 10- 12 constables. No food was provided while in custody. In Gwalior jail, political inmates were kept alongside notorious dacoits and were allowed to be abused by them.
II. Nature of police atrocities-after eighties:
After 1980, police have resorted to more repressive techniques to not leave any scar of police atrocities on the body of victims. Even minors weren't spared at the hands of police.
Young boys were supplied to convicts for delectation, some tortured into impotency, hung upside down, were beaten, given electric shocks etc. Brutal methods were adopted for forcing confessions.
III. Illegal Arrest and Detention
The Police officials at times make arrests and detain an individual, due to own grudges, political influence, or in retaliation for complaints of police abuse. These police officers sometimes fail to follow the guidelines given by the court in the case of D.K Basu V. State of West Bengal (Writ Petition (CRL) NO. 592 OF 1987), which includes producing the arrested person before the magistrate within 24 hrs of the arrest.
IV. Death in police custody:
Since 1970’s death in police custody has become very common. These deaths are usually the results of torture to extort information or to show the person concerned a lesson.
V. Atrocities against women:
The Mathura rape case was an incident of custodial rape in India on 26 March 1972, wherein, a young tribal girl, was raped by two policemen on the complex of Desai Ganj police station of Maharashtra. The Supreme Court ruled in Tukaram V. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1979 SC 185), that there were no injuries on the person of the girl, which meant that she did not put up resistance and that the incident was a "peaceful affair". After the Supreme Court acquitted the accused, there was public outcry and protests, which eventually led to amendments within the Indian rape law via The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 1983 (No. 46).
VI. Fake Encounters:
Fake encounters is another area where the police have committed human rights violations by way of atrocities and arbitrarily killing people. In People Union for Civil Liberties V. Union of India (AIR 1990 SC 513), the Supreme Court held that killing of two people in fake encounter by Imphal police was clear violation of right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and defence of exemption doesn't apply in such cases.
In the case of Sunil Batra V. Delhi Administration (1980 AIR 1579), it was observed by the court that inhuman torture and treatment is against the Article 21 of the constitution of India which includes the right to live with human dignity. The rights guaranteed under Article 21 aren't merely a fundamental right but also a person's right.
In another case of A.D.M Jabalpur V. Shiv Kant Shukla (1976 AIR 1207), Justice H.R Khanna observed that “no one can be deprived of his right to life and personal liberty arbitrarily without the provisions of the law. And it extended the meaning of the term “life” which is something more than mere animal existence.”
This type of violence is seen against the minority and poor communities of society. According to a Common Cause survey, half of Indian cops believe that Muslims have an instinctive tendency to commit crimes. These prejudices also extend to Scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes, Adivasis, Dalits, and Transgender people.
They have this communal or racial hatred, imbibed from their communities, into the profession. And to top that, they are poorly trained. As stated by Ashis Nandy, a sociologist and political theorist, there is something drastically wrong with their training, if they think violence is the answer. The “Status of Policing in India Report – 2019” found that 1 out of 5, never received Human Rights training. Without proper training, most police personnel believe violence towards criminals, whether accused or convicted. As a part of a survey, Police personnel were asked if it had been alright for them to adopt a violent attitude toward criminals for the greater good of society and whether it was correct to use a violative attitude to extract confessions. To this, 75% and 83% respectively answered in the affirmative.
IS POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS WIDESPREAD?
Police brutality remains a drawback in many advanced democracies. Officers worldwide have used aggressive means to crack down on protesters, including French police during the Yellow Vests protests that began in late 2018.
In October 2020, Nigerian security forces reportedly opened fire on protesters, killing twelve people. Police have also used deadly force when enforcing coronavirus restrictions in recent times, including in Kenya.
The US far exceeds most wealthy democracies in killings by police. U.S. police executed an estimated 7,666 people between 2013 and 2019. By comparison, a minimum of 224 people died in encounters with Canadian police during that period. Some countries, like Finland and Norway, have gone years without police killings.
Worldwide, police often have had tense relationships with minority communities. Today, Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to have their vehicles pulled over and 3 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police.
The killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white policeman in the United States of America sparked a national reckoning with police brutality and systemic racism in 2020. Protesters called to defund the police, ban the use of chokeholds, and end practices that focus on minority communities, prompted a public policy debate over police reform and an inspection of how other countries approach policing.