Custodial Death While In Judicial Custody- Calcutta HC Orders Police Protection For Wife Of Victim
The Calcutta High Court has ordered police protection for the wife of a person who died while in custody, on a petition filed by the wife seeking a CBI investigation into the death of her husband.
The deceased was arrested by police on June 11 and produced before the jurisdictional Magistrate on June 12. On June 14, the victim was found dead when he was in the correctional home, after he was remanded to judicial custody.
The wife Anima Roy approached the High Court claiming that the police authorities have failed to function as an independent investigating agency while investigating the death of her husband. She alleged that the police authorities conducted the post-mortem without informing the relatives of the petitioner and that the inquest and the inquiry by the Magistrate were done without informing the relatives and that the police authorities have not taken steps against the offenders.
She alleged that the police may protect their colleagues who may be involved in the alleged crime.
It was also argued by Advocate Swatarup Banerjee on behalf of the petitioner that Section 41A notice was not issued to the victim before his arrest and that the police have acted in violation of the decision of the Apex Court in the matter of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar and Anr (2014) 8 SCC 469.
Advocate Jishnu Chowdhury for the state contended that the inquest and the post-mortem have been videographed and that the petitioner was present during the inquest.
Justice Shampa Sarkar noted that the post-mortem report indicates that there were abrasions on the entire body of the victim. "Thus, it prima facie appears that the victim may have sustained injuries while in custody", the Bench noted.
The Bench held that since the investigation is at a primary stage, it would not be proper for the Court to direct investigation by the CBI without allowing the investigating agency to file their affidavit in order to disclose the documents relied upon and the progress made in the investigation.
"The allegations against the jail officials and the police authorities are very serious in nature. The truth must be unearthed and the family of the victim deserves to have the investigation done in a free and impartial manner", the Court said in its order.
The Court said that it is providing an opportunity to the investigating agency to proceed with the investigation under the supervision of the Superintendent of Police, Horah Rural Police District so that the offenders are identified and taken to task as expeditiously as possible. The Court added that it will decide the issue of transfer of the investigation upon perusal of the progress in the investigation.
"This Court is of the view that the petitioner must be given some protection by the police to ensure that she is not harmed in any way. Two lady constables be posted at the residence of the petitioner", the Court ordered while directing police to file its reply within a week and adjourning the matter to July 12.