Observing that Maharashtra accounts for a large number of custodial deaths and that most of the victims belonged to the minority community, the Bombay High Court has said that it would take stern measures to curb such atrocities.
As a first step, a bench of justices V M Kanade and P D Kode yesterday clubbed all the petitions alleging custodial death and appointed senior lawyer Yug Choudhary as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist in the matter.
The bench observed that it had noticed that most of the victims of custodial death belonged to the minority community and added that the court would step in to prevent this.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by mother of a 23-year-old resident of Sion here claiming that her son had died under mysterious circumstances two years ago. The matter was adjourned by a fortnight.
Police said it was a natural death while the petitioner claimed her son had died under mysterious conditions.
The petitioner said her son was arrested in a theft case on February 21, 2012. He was sent to Thane Central prison from police custody. On March 24, 2012, he died there.
Choudhary, the amicus curiae, said it had come to his knowledge that in most cases of custodial deaths, the victims were either Dalits or Muslims.
He said according to National Crime Record Bureau statistics, 34 persons died in police custody in Maharashtra last year. In 2012, custodial deaths numbered 20.