BBA-LLB, Batch 2019-24 .
Police exist to protect, and not hinder freedom, in a democratic society. The very objective of the police is to ensure that these rights can be exercised in a protected and controlled environment in our country.
Democracy is endangered when law-makers and law-enforcers become law-breakers. The conformity of the state should not be the concern of the police. They shouldn’t even concern themselves with the question of implementation of legislation or bureaucratic regimes. In democratic terms, it is the State’s responsibility to control brutal practices on the basis of legal standards in order to ensure a safe environment and to permit its people to enjoy their fundamental rights without threats to their lives, freedom or dignity. Meanwhile, the role of the police in a democracy is solely concerned with ensuring secure neighbourhoods and enforcing criminal law on an equal footing for all, free from fear or favour.
Though the roles of the State and the Police are distinctive with the concerns of duties as mentioned above, it is also interwoven to an extent. The “torture” and “death under detention” that we hear so often in today’s world is not recent. In fact, these events were established quite a while ago. Custodial violence and misuse of power provided for in the Constitution and in other laws have posed important human rights issues. It is a barrier to our democracy and hinders our progress in contemporary society. Custodial violence may be perpetrated by harassing the individual in a police station for lengthy periods without purpose, using third grade tactics, stripping, abuse, rape, death and so on, which causes both mental and physical pain.
In a country where the rule of law, every action and right to life and liberty are respected as fundamental rights, cases of death by detention, abuse, and violence are the focus of a plethora of harsh and probing issues. These include police lock-ups or death traps, lawlessness, policing muscles or personal modesty, police or human rights. The dialogistic recurrence of torture by officials has led to the development of a terrible fear in the minds of ordinary people that their lives and freedoms face a fresh and unjustifiable danger, because law-keepers themselves have violated human rights by lieu of custodial violence. Thus, there exists a need to strike a balance between the individual human rights and societal interests in combating crime by using a realistic approach.
As established in the case of Public Prosecutor v. Shaik Ibrahim, “It is a crude, barbarous and reprehensible system for investigating and detecting crimes that torture victims in order to gain information.” Those that have the responsibility to enforce the law must learn to comply with the same. The end does not justify the means of police inquiries as in other cases. The means matter as much as the result. It is moreover to consider that inhuman treatments might leave a physical or mental injury, which could last a lifetime if proven innocent in the court of law. It is the State’s duty to ensure that, except in compliance with statute, a citizen’s rights to life is not be infringed while he/she is under detention.
The Supreme Court has stressed repeatedly that the vital guarantee given by Article 21 of the Indian constitution cannot be denied to prisoners, trials or other prisoners in custody, except in accordance with the law and police or prison authorities’ procedure. The responsibility to ensure that custodial citizens are not deprived of their right to life is essential as there is huge amount of responsibility associated with the same.
A court of law cannot close its awareness and existence to harsh truths. In the cases of custodial deaths or custodial violence, it is to be noted that the victim might get a monetary compensation. The victim’s family cannot be so relieved by mere punishing the perpetrator. A lengthy and tedious judicial procedure is the civil action for injury. Therefore, monetary indemnification for the court recourse and finding violation of a citizens’ undefeatable right to life is a valuable and often only efficient way of dealing with the wounds of the family of the dead person who might have been the winner of the family’s food. The concept that financial or monetary compensation is necessary, effective, and perhaps the only appropriate, and often only solution for compensating public employees for the proven violation of their fundamental right to life is now well recognized in the majority of jurisdictions, and the State is subordinate to its actions.
The citizen’s claims are founded on the concept of strict liability which does not provide for the defense of sovereign immunity and a citizen must be compensated by the State that has the right to compensation by the wrongdoer. So, in addition to the usual remedies, and not in exception to them, the relief to redress the error for the proven invasion of citizens’ fundamental rights is subject to public law jurisdiction. Any sum granted to the victim by damages in a civil action may, in a particular case, be modified to the level of the compensation granted by the Court and paid by the State to correct the wrong done.
Moreover, it is the essence of exemplary harms to the wrongdoer for violation of their obligation of public law. It is independent of the privileges of the aggrieved party to seek restitution in a tort, a lawsuit brought before competent court, or to prosecute the criminal offender. Human rights are often directly influenced by police and other governmental bodies. It is true that no reward will restore a battered and tortured physical environment.
The dehumanization of prison torture, abuse, rape and death, raises significant concerns about the integrity of the rule of law and administration of the criminal justice system. The call for justice is louder today and requires urgent corrective action.
1. Public Prosecutor v. Shaik Ibrahim, 1964 (2) Cri.L.J 636.
2. Simpson v. Attorney General , 1994 NZLR 667.
3. D.K.Basu v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1997 SC 610.
4. Bhim Singh v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, 1985(4) SCC 677.