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HC tells Maha to implement law about probe in custodial deaths

bombay high court

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government to strictly implement a law which requires police or jail authorities to immediately inform a judicial magistrate about custodial death in their jurisdiction in order to facilitate a probe.

In 2006, the law was amended to make compulsory for the police or jail authorities to inform a Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate First Class about custodial death, so that a probe is conducted and the body forwarded for inquest within two days, the HC was informed.

Hearing a petition, the court sought to know from the state government what mechanism has been evolved to inform the judicial magistrate about custodial deaths, and whether police stations or jail authorities are aware of this rule and are following it.

Public Prosecutor S S Shinde said the rule was not being implemented and assured that the state would inform the police stations and jail authorities to follow the procedure accordingly.

A division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka sought to know from the state government whether this procedure has been followed in cases of custodial deaths from 2006 till date.

The bench asked the state to give this information in an affidavit by June 21.

The judges also asked the state to inform by the same date whether police stations and jail authorities have been told to follow the procedure of informing magistrates about custodial deaths in their jurisdiction.

The court was hearing the petition filed by one Leonard Valdaris seeking CBI probe into the death of his son Agnello Valdaris, who died in custody of Wadala Government Railway Police on April 18, 2014.

On a directive of the high court, the CBI had conducted a probe into the death of Valdaris and filed a chargesheet against 10 GRP men.

They were charged with various offences under IPC such as murder, assault, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, kidnapping, wrongful confinement and also under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The Bombay HC had ordered exhumation of Agnello’s body and the medical report could form part of the evidence.

Two other documents will have a bearing in this case — a fax sent by Leonard to the police commissioner pointing out alleged illegal detention, and a reply to an RTI application by Sion Hospital that Agnello had complained to doctors when he was brought for a medical check-up about police allegedly beating him up.

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