New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana expressed concern over custodial torture at a function on Sunday, saying the threat to human rights and bodily integrity is “highest in police stations”. Describing human rights and dignity as “sacred”, he said, “custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems that still pervade our society”.
He said, “Despite constitutional declarations and guarantees, lack of effective legal representation in police stations is a major disadvantage to the persons arrested/detained. Decisions taken in these early hours will later lead to the accused’s ability to defend himself.” will determine.” In his address at an event organized by NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi.
The Chief Justice said that according to recent reports, even the privileged are not spared from third-degree treatment. However, he did not mention any specific case.
He said the way forward to prevent police excesses was to “disseminate information about the constitutional right to legal aid and the availability of free legal aid services”.
Ramana’s comments on Sunday came days after the Centre told the Parliament that as many as 348 people died in police custody, while 1,189 were tortured during detention across the country in the last three years.
“The installation of display boards and outdoor hoardings in every police station or jail is a step in this direction. However, NALSA should sensitize police officers nationwide,” the Chief Justice said at the launch of a legal services app.
India, Chief Justice Ramana said, has a long tradition of pro bono legal services to the accused that started on behalf of freedom fighters in the British period.
“If we are to continue as a society governed by the rule of law, it is imperative for us to bridge the gap in access to justice between the highly privileged and the most vulnerable. For the times to come, we must It must be remembered that, the realities of socio-economic diversity that pervade our country can never be a reason for denial of rights,” Chief Justice Ramana said.
Ramana said, “If the judiciary as an institution wants to gain the trust of citizens, we have to assure everyone that we are there for them. For the longest time, vulnerable populations have been left out of the justice system.” .