1988 Case In Odisha: Custodial Death Crime Against Society, Not Acceptable, Says Supreme Court

New Delhi: Death owing to custodial violence is abhorrent and not acceptable in a civilised society, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

“The custodial violence on the deceased which led to the death is abhorrent and not acceptable in the civilised society. The offence committed by the accused is a crime not against the deceased alone but was against humanity and clear violations of rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Ajay Rastogi said.

The top court made the observation as it refused to compound two Odisha policemen’s 1988 offence. The cops were accused of assaulting a man, who later succumbed to injuries.

While criticising custodial torture, the bench was of the opinion that beating of a person in the police station is the concern for all and causes a sense of fear in the entire society. However, the top court reduced the sentence of two septuagenarian accused and directed that enhanced compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh each be paid to the family members of the deceased.

“When the protector of people and society himself instead of protecting the people adopts brutality and inhumanly beat the person who comes to the police station, it is a matter of great public concern,” the top court was quoted as saying in a 35-page verdict.

The accused cops, a police station in-charge and senior inspector had mercilessly beaten up the man at the custody. The victim later succumbed to the injuries. The police officers moved the apex court against their conviction upheld by the High Court.

“We, thus, are of the considered opinion that present is a case where this Court is not to grant leave for compounding the offences under Section 324 of IPC as prayed by the counsel for the appellants,” the bench said.

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