Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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HC seeks details of custodial death cases where judicial probe not done

The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government to furnish details regarding cases of custodial deaths in which magistrates have not taken cognisance of reference sent to them for judicial inquiry.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and A A Sayed said once the details are available, the court can issue directions to the judicial registrar to take up the matter with the concerned magistrates.

The high court was hearing a bunch of petitions, including a public interest litigation on the alleged increasing number of custodial death cases in the state.

The court was informed today by the government that till September this year, 31 cases of custodial deaths have been recorded, out of which 28 cases have been referred to the concerned magistrate of those districts for conducting judicial inquiry.

The bench was informed that in certain cases the magistrates refused to take cognisance of the reference made to them.

“Give us details of these cases in which magistrates did not entertain despite reference to them. We will issue appropriate directions. In seven cases judicial inquiry has been completed and report has been submitted. We also have to see what has to be done after the report is filed. Otherwise judicial inquiry would just be an empty formality,” Justice Oka said.

The court also directed the state Home department to appoint an officer to conduct inspection of the 25 police stations where CCTVs have been installed as a pilot project.

“We will have to see if the CCTVs are installed in strategic places so that the entire police station is covered. Some officer from the Home department shall conduct inspection and file report,” the court directed and posted the matter for hearing next week.

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