Khaki Mafia: Torture, Impunity and Indolence

By Mohammad Adil Ansari 42 Minutes Read

“Policewale se na dosti acchi, na dushmani acchi”
(Never befriend a policeman nor mess with him)

– Common Indian Wisdom

Have you heard of any convictions in the recent past in cases of custodial violence?

Chances are, you haven’t. Unless its Sanjeev Bhatt, the IPS officer who testified against the 2002 state-sponsored genocide in the Supreme Court and Nanavati Commission. [1]

Rather, you would have definitely heard and seen (perhaps done it yourself) people showering flower petals on police-men arriving after murdering people under the pretext of an ‘encounter’.[2] The irony of the whole affair in this 2019 Hyderabad encounter case, was that the people cheered for the encounter for the sole reason that it was a fake extrajudicial killing. V.C Sajjanar, the Singham of Hyderabad, happened to be a real-life avatar of ‘Chulbul Pandey’, who arrives just at the right time at the right place and single handily shoots down the culprits, not on one but two occasions, as the rest of police force present on-site, sits back ogling at the sight of the live stream supercop flick.  Strangely the storyline of both the 2008 and 2019 extra-judicial encounters which he committed are so similar, that one might confuse one for another. Sheer luck, or poorly crafted lies, you decide. Either way, owing to his impeccable record when it comes to dispensing speedy justice, the Indian courts must definitely recruit him under a Commission to recommend them some suggestions regarding how to deliver such swift justice.

In this backdrop, I find it hard to come to terms with a dilemma: A population which cheers its cops for openly committing extrajudicial encounters of civilians for the sole reason of being accused (note: the accusation charges itself being levelled by the police), why is it horrified when the same police institution tortures or kills someone in custody? They should be rather celebrating or distributing sweets, or how about dancing to the tunes of ‘Thana me bethe on Duty, bajave hai Pandey ji seeti’, that’s one good song to celebrate the arbitrary powers of the police. I wonder what prompted Mr. Hari, the director of Singham, and 4 other supercop movies to issue an apology after hearing about the Tamil Nadu custodial murders.[3] I was after-all vouching for him to make a movie on V.C Sajjanar’s brave exploits in the domain of imparting speedy justice to the masses. After all, he is the one who upheld the faith of the public in the criminal justice system, when all seemed lost in the Priyanka Reddy murder case. It must be noted that the father and sister of the victim during that fateful night went from one police station to another[4], begging for help, but prevention of crime seemingly happens to be an outdated concept, the public only believes in brute revenge to intoxicate its conscience.

Now that is not my outtake, blame it on Common Cause’s “Status of Policing in India Report, 2019”. The comprehensive report which interviewed more than 12,000 policemen in 21 states, as well as 10,000 family members of such police personnel along with an analysis of the data and reports of different NGOs and government surveys, gave some astonishing findings: 3 out of every 4 policemen affirm that the police is justified to use violence against accused (or criminals, both happen to be synonymous terms in their dictionary). More importantly, 4 out of 5 policemen in the country firmly believe that beating and torturing persons to extract confessions is completely justified.[5] Someone needs to educate them that any confession given to police officer is never admissible in the court under Section 25 nor any confession extracted while a person is in the custody of police (unless made in the presence of a Magistrate) is worth any admissibility under Section 26 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. However, that is hardly of any relevance, when two-thirds of India’s 4.3 lakh prisoners accused of crimes are awaiting trial.[6]

Sathankulam police station of Tamil Nadu, has suddenly become the epicenter for public ire in the past week. The country is enraged. Its conscience disgusted, as media informs. P Jeyaraj, 62, and his son J Bennix, 32 are trending in the current syllabus of national outrage. Jeyaraj and his son were stripped naked, brutally beaten for hours, inhumanly tortured, reportedly sodomized multiple times with batons to an extent where they suffered serious damage to their internal organs. Their pants and lungies had to be changed multiple times during the span of a few hours, as it would always get soaked in blood due to profuse bleeding. Bennix died late evening on June 22, and Jeyaraj died in the wee hours on June 23, 2020. Their crime: they kept their shops open beyond the notified hour as per the Lockdown Guidelines. A petty offence prescribing a maximum punishment of 1 month or a fine of Rs 200 under Section 188 of the IPC. Let that sink.

The only solace in this whole affair: the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has taken suo-motto cognizance of the event and has directed a CBI inquiry.[7] The two sub-inspectors have been suspended and the inspector of the station has been put on compulsory wait, the magistrate Saravanan, who remanded the two to jail without even examining them orally, has however not been questioned. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has demanded a report from the district judge regarding the judicial officer’s role. [8]

 Statistically speaking, one is prevented from being too optimistic about conviction in such cases of custodial deaths and torture. As per the latest 2018 National Crime Record Bureau report, there have been No Convictions in cases of Police Torture and human rights violations out of the reported 87 cases[9]. Out of these few reported cases of Torture, the charge sheet has been filed only in 25 cases. The year 2017 saw only 3 convictions. Between 2000 and 2016, there were 1,022 deaths in police custody. Out of which the FIRs were filed in 428 cases only.[10]

But owing to the influence of the Nadar community (to which the victims belonged) in the regional politics, we can certainly expect the State machinery to work in its meticulous best, to see through the logical conclusion of this case. Had it been someone from the weaker section of the society, it takes no less than custodial death of the father, immolation attempt in front of the Chief Minister’s residence along with a full-blown conspired Truck collision against the complainant victim to secure such a smooth and swift action from the State and Courts, as witnessed in the Unnao Rape Case.

No wonder, nobody is demanding justice for the 28-year-old mason Mahendran:  another victim of the same Sathankulam Police station, who died on June 13, tortured in a similar fashion as the present case, a few weeks back when he was arrested in May 2020. Poverty seldom inspires public outrage or state action. Thus, it comes with little surprise when Justice Deepak Gupta remarks in his retirement speech recently, that the Indian Legal system favors only the rich and powerful.[11]

No doubt, there is a bright likelihood that conviction would be secured in this case. The Court would be reiterating its ubiquitous line “…State has failed in its public duty to protect the fundamental rights of the citizen…”, (as if it tried in the first place) award compensation, sentence the culprits for imprisonment, and perhaps lay down a few guidelines. The public would celebrate, this time showering petals on the judges, and all would be happy.

But the chances, are even if the conviction is secured in this case, that would hardly be of relevance to the whole scheme of affairs. A country where 83% of the police workforce believes in torture to be an effective method to deal with accused persons[12], seems ludicrous when it exhorts for punishing the culprits of custodial violence. Such a conviction might temporarily restore the faith of the public in the judiciary, but one would be naïve (bordering foolishness) to believe that such a conviction would hardly bring about any difference at grassroot police and jail administration. What is needed is a dramatic restructuring of the whole prosecution and investigation framework in such cases. 

Here is the reason why:

The National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT) in its “India: Annual Report on Torture 2019” reported that a total of 1,731 persons died in custody during 2019, i.e. death of about five persons daily.[13] Out of which 1,606 deaths were reported in judicial custody and 125 deaths in police custody. Out of the 125 deaths, 93 persons (74.4%) died during police custody due to alleged torture/foul play while 24 persons (19.2%) died under suspicious circumstances in which police claimed they committed suicide (16 persons), illness (7 persons) and injuries (1 person) while the reasons for the custodial death of five (4%) persons were unknown.[14] Most of the victims of torture belonged to the weaker sections of the society. The report also explicitly claims that the exact figures of the deaths due to torture are much more, as “in a number of cases, the police made all attempts to destroy incriminating evidence of torture by not conducting post-mortems or cremating the dead bodies of the torture victims in haste without conducting mandatory post-mortem examinations.

The Report reveals, that the police often loath to follow arrest procedures in such cases where one of their own is accused to be the culprit, their impunity bolstered by a system that allows them to blame such deaths in custody “on suicide, illness, or natural causes”. The ground statistics clearly point that such an investigation arrangement offers complete impunity to the culprits of custodial torture and deaths.

The 2016 report by Human Rights Watch titled “Bound by Brotherhood: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody” reaffirmed similar findings. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of the Human Rights Watch remarks in this context, “Our research shows that too often, the police officers investigating deaths in custody are more concerned about shielding their colleagues than bringing those responsible to justice.”[15] The Report shows that the police openly flaunts the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal[16]. In its survey, it found that in 67 of the 97 custodial deaths by torture in 2015, the police either failed to produce the suspect before a magistrate within the mandated 24 hours or the suspect died within 24 hours of being arrested.

Justice Krishna Iyer was an egalitarian. The renowned legal stalwart Fali S. Nariman would go on to refer him as ‘The Supreme Judge’ and dedicate a whole chapter in his honor in his book ‘God Save the Hon’ble Supreme Court‘. In the infamous Sunil Batra case[17], Justice Krishna Iyer laid down the precise conceptual abstraction of the position of prisons and jails in law. According to him “Prisons are built with stones of law”.[18] Such places derive their existence from the emanation of the State law, which in turn is a puppet emulation of the Indian Constitution. Theoretically, such legally sanctioned detention and correction centers must be the bastions of upholding the State law and the Constitutional values. Quoting Justice Douglas in his book, Justice Krishna Iyer emphasizes, “Every prisoner’s liberty is, of course, circumscribed by the very fact of his confinement, but his interest in the limited liberty left to him is then only the more substantial.”[19] These limited liberties are not forsaken by the person once he enters the premises of custody, detention, or imprisonment, and must be protected by the Courts at all cost. According to him, “Rehabilitation effort is a necessary component of incarceration is part of the Indian criminal justice system[20].  

However, in his own judgment, after establishing the egalitarian position of prison and its doctrinal commitment to ideals of reformation and rehabilitation, Justice Krishna Iyer would acknowledge sharply that, when it comes to prisons and police custody, “Reformation and rehabilitation is the rhetoric; systematic dehumanization is the reality“. Remarking acidly that such institutions harbor a pervasive mafia-culture[21], where whenever an offence is alleged to have taken place, there is always departmental collusion or league between the police and the prison staff.

The Sunil Batra judgment was delivered in the year 1979, when the only relevant international instrument existing at the time was The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Torture and other cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by U. N. General Assembly (Resolution 3452 of 9 December 1975). The Supreme Court judgment based most of its recommendations on the basis of this charter, though India was still not a signatory to it. The jurisprudence developed by the judgment in the context of such international charters was that if international laws are not in opposition to Indian law then they are legitimately enforceable as a feature of right to life, liberty and due process provision of the Indian Constitution: a proposition which opened floodgates for judicial creativity in the domain of human rights. Sexual Harassment at Workplace guidelines expounded in the Vishaka case[22] would never have seen the light of the day, had it not been for the genius of Justice Krishna Iyer in Sunil Batra case.

The Indian Government fares very poorly when it comes to making commitments regarding to human rights instruments. Out of the 18 Human Rights treaties, India has ratified only 8, falling into the orange zone, which exhibits those countries which showcase a poor adherence to human rights. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), 1987 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1984. India happen to sign it 13 years later in 1997. As of 2020, 23 years later: India has not yet ratified the UNCAT in spite of persistent recommendations being made from different quarters both nationally and internationally. The Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists as well as the Law Commission of India has urged in its many reports (the latest being the 273rd) to ratify the same. In fact, the primary reason why India happens to almost always fail in the extradition of its fugitives and offenders who have escaped overseas is that it has no specific domestic legislation to guarantee the host country that such extradited offenders won’t be subjected to torture in India. Whatever hopes (if any) are left on submitting India’s sovereign assurances against the infliction of torture in Indian jails, the domestic and international reports on custodial violence and poor conditions of jails in India, outrightly sabotage any such attempts made in foreign courts. The Asian Centre of Human Rights in its 2018 report titled ‘Torture: India’s Self Made Hurdle‘ has blamed India’s reluctance to ratify UNCAT to be the biggest hurdle in such extradition cases. No wonder India’s attempt for the extradition of Sanjeev Chawla failed and Vijay Mallya used this lacuna in law along with a videotape showcasing the poor conditions of Mumbai Arthur Road Jail to stop his extradition from U.K. The 273rd Law Commission report, thus owing to such problems has recommended the government to ratify UNCAT as well as proposed a draft “The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017“.

The only affirmative steps in the direction of curbing the menace of torture have come from the Judicial quarters. Guidelines have been issued by the Supreme Court from time to time, ranging from the Sunil Batra case[23] all the way to the infamous D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal guidelines[24]. In the 2011 case of Prakash Singh v. Union of India[25], the Supreme Court issued a fresh set of six guidelines for systematic police reforms. The court gave the directive for the establishment of the Police Complaints Authority at the state and district level. The purpose of such authority shall be to look into the complaints made by the public against the Police officers for serious misconduct including police atrocities (How much of it is implemented is a different story altogether). In State of U.P v. Ram Sagar Yadav[26], the Supreme Court of India recommended the government that the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 must be amended to place the burden of proof for establishing innocence on the police officer under whose custody such case of custodial violence and death occurred. Subsequently, in its 113th Law Commission Report, 1985 recommended the addition of Section 114-B in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to place the burden of proof in all cases of custodial deaths and violence upon the accused police personnel as well as the police department (35 years hence, and many Law Commission Reports later, such recommendations have been unsuccessful to inspire the Government off its torpor). As of today, the Supreme Court happens to be the only sovereign state organ which to redress the issue through its judicial creativity and craftsmanship. In another 2011 case of Prakash Kadam vs Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta[27], the Supreme Court declared the cases of fake encounters and custodial murders to qualify as the ‘rarest of the rare’ cases and must be severely dealt with.

In spite of such judicial interventions from time to time, the ground fact remains that almost all such cases of police brutalities, custodial murders as well as fake encounters go unpunished. The lack of legislative intent on part of the government and the Parliament is to be majorly blamed for that. The 2018 NCRB report which showcases 0 conviction is a mere reflection as to the depth to which the police institutions are compromised. In his book ‘In Jail‘, Kuldip Nayar portrays the depth to which such a system has been rigged. From harboring an entire economic ecosystem which is a complete anti-thesis of the law and constitutional values, the jails have a thriving system of ‘child slavery‘ which is handled by a nexus between the police and the prison authorities. Children as young as 10-12 years old are picked up by the Policemen, framed on unsubstantiated charges and kept in jails as undertrials so that they can serve there as servants to take care of the daily chores of the prison authorities and the influential prison inmates. No wonder Justice Krishna Iyer refers to such a system as mafia-culture.

While the whole academia, civil society, and international human rights network has been proposing for an urgent reformation in the police system as well as a dedicated domestic law for punishing torture by police. It is pertinent to rather first sit back, and venture into examining the viability of such correctional facilities:  Are prisons really the temples of reformation? Or rather the Den of nurturing Criminals? A common experience is that it has always served as the latter. With policing the police becoming the new ombudsmanic task for the rule of law, isn’t such a police system and prison institution a barbarity and a lecherous pestilence sucking the life out of the democratic tradition and rule of law? And can bringing in structural reforms offer a solution to its menacing oppressive nature?

The colonial structured police force happens to champion the title of being the most corrupt institution in the country. The nexus it shares with the prosecution, investigation as well as political and magisterial quarters, makes sure it is rewarded with maximum (often complete) impunity in all such cases.[28]

Ask yourself when you see a policeman: Do you feel a sense of security or fear of potential undue harassment? The answer to that question holds the key to the exact role the Police force plays in society.

How far is such a colonially structured oppressive force relevant in a democracy which establishes its government on the models of consensus and rule of law? A force which explicitly acknowledges its trend of heckling the weaker, marginalized section of society as well as implanting false cases to incriminate innocent civilians in its ‘Manual for Human Rights for Police Officers‘: “On the one hand, on the pretext of national security, before 26th Jan or 15th Aug, petty criminals or people belonging to a particular community are taken into custody. On the other hand, in order to keep a petty criminal out of police station’s jurisdiction, sometimes weapons and drugs are implanted to falsely implicate him and send him to judicial custody for a prolonged period. The same process may be repeated when the person is released from custody. Needless to say, such, ‘criminals’ get saddled with a track of criminal record during the course. Many of them subsequently become easy targets of extrajudicial killings, once a reward is announced on their head.“[29]

The question which we need to ask ourselves is how and why does an institutional force which is theoretically committed to securing justice and responsible for the law and order, serve operationally to be the country’s biggest oppressive force in its democratic arrangement? Did it really evolve to become such or was it deliberately crafted to serve as an oppressive institution? Turning pages through history, the police has always upheld its notorious reputation since its inception. Looking into the British era, the colonial avatar of this police force was deployed extensively to suppress dissent, anti-British sentiments, and serve as henchmen to collect taxes as well as impose East India Company’s (and later British) policies.

The systematic oppressive regime of the police force, coupled with the penal justice system of British India (both of which retain their colonial hue even today) was, in fact, the key domain that attracted furor from the domestic Indian population during the Independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi remarked in this context, “In my opinion, the administration of the law is thus prostituted, consciously or unconsciously, for the benefit of the exploiter”.[30]

Gandhi’s sentiments find close resonance with the theories of the French philosopher Michel Foucault in his celebrated work ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of Prison‘. According to Foucault, the way a society treats and defines its criminals says a lot about the nature of power in that society. He says that a penal system isn’t supposed to prevent crime, or reform criminals or even dole out justice, rather it exists to defend the power of the ruling class. If we examine the Indian police force on Foucault’s parameter, perhaps it has been the most efficient institution in the country.

India is a committed democracy constitutionally. Democracy essentially is the tangible manifestation of the ‘social contract theory’ propounded by Thomas Hobbes. According to the social contract theory, upon birth, each and every citizen of the nation-state effectively signs a social contract with the sovereign authority. The citizen sacrifices a portion of his liberty and labor and delivers it to the sovereign as taxation, public service, or other means. In return the sovereign promises to protect him from the ‘state of nature’ (Matsyanyaya: the real nature of the world where the big fish preys upon the small fish) and secure him Dharma-nyaya (the civilized nature which establishes one’s claim on the principles of natural justice).

For the establishment of a civilized society (Dharma-nyaya) where the sovereign can guarantee its every inhabitant equal rights and liberties, the sovereign authority is required to maintain law and order as well as punish the criminals who disobey such laws. Law and order of country are essentially the means by which the government mediates between competing liberties and interests of its inhabitants. Thus, whenever someone commits a crime in a democratic society, “a wrong to someone is a wrong to everyone and an unpunished criminal makes society vicariously guilty”[31], as it challenges the stability of the body politic as well as the society. Simultaneously, such crimes also undermine the authority of the sovereign body (the government) by challenging it. The government in order to maintain its authority and to project that it is committed and competent to uphold its obligations under the social contract theory, seeks out to punish the criminals. For that purpose, it deploys an agency, called the Police and establishes a penal justice system to enforce the necessary sanctions as per the established due process.

The penal justice system by punishing the criminal serves dual purposes: Firstly, the punishment to the criminal serves as a deterrent for the other members of the society to commit offences, and secondly, by punishing the criminal it re-establishes the authority of the government.

However, it is debatable as to what remains of the credibility of such a penal justice system, when it itself engages in active repudiation of the social contract theory? When the conviction rate of the police personnel in cases of custodial torture/deaths fails to even secure a single digit; when the police institution, under whose custody such crimes were committed is both the perpetrator and investigator in its own cause; when the task force deputed to protect the civilians, kills them with impunity in fake encounters and frame them deliberately under false charges; when such a police institution forsakes every Constitutional oath it has taken and harbors a ‘child slavery’ racket within its prison walls; when its presence in public domain becomes synonymous to extortion and bribes, what remains of the ‘Rule of Law’ and what remains of the ‘social contract theory’?

How far can such a system be reformed?

Can it be reformed?

Should this really be a question worth addressing when the march for securing justice for the victims of police brutality is yet to meet with a legislative intent, let alone any legislation. The impotency of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), deliberately ornated in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 clearly apprise our commitment against any independent statutory framework for prosecution of the guilty police force personnel in all such cases.

Under the 1993 Act, the NHRC has been granted only the power to recommend actions (which are almost never considered by the government unless they coincide with the interests of the political disposition in power) against police officers but not to prosecute them under a judicial proceeding, thereby making it a toothless tiger.

A criminal justice system which cannot secure even the filing of FIRs even in majority cases is a cruel mockery of the ideal it claims to uphold: “Justice”

When a system created for the purpose of reformation and reclamation of the offenders, serves as the breeding ground for hardened criminals and nurtures colors for painting criminality onto the face of the society, we ought to examine the viability and the relevance of such a system against the backdrop of its proclaimed objectives and ideals. George A. Ellis quotes a prisoner’s letter in his book “Inside Folsom Prison: Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program“:

“You cannot rehabilitate a man through brutality and disrespect…If you treat a man like an animal, then you must expect him to act like one. For every action, there is a reaction…And in order for an inmate, to act like a human being you must trust him as such….You can’t spit in his face and expect him to smile and say thank you.”

Perhaps such a system doesn’t deserve a reformation, perhaps it needs a surgical incision. Perhaps we must look for an alternative model for monitoring and enforcement of law & order: a model that is thoroughly democratic and procedurally accountable. One such model can be ‘Community policing‘, which was the normative security force in traditional Indian societies. Even today most backward and undeveloped regions of the country operate on such a system. Unlike the urban police, the community police obtains adherence to the social norms out of the sheer respect it commands in the community, rather than instilling fear and brutality. The force is always responsible and accountable to its society, its personnel can be removed by its jurisdictional population if they ever transgress their set limitations.

When it comes to police reformation, placing a legislative fence around such a potentially dangerous and unruly beast can be a temporary short term solution, which would always harbor a risk for a possible (deliberate or accidental) unleash. But annihilating the beast: that can serve as a permanent solution. Unregulated, unanswerable barbarity can never secure the ends of a just society, even in response to an incidence of an equivalent barbaric nature. For the civilized society itself is premised on the negation of any form of violence or barbarity.

A system that upholds all credentials of being opposed to a just society, doesn’t deserve reformation. It demands condemnation. It necessitates annihilation. Meanwhile, the democracy begs an urgent replacement.

[1] The Wire Staff, Sanjiv Bhatt Case: In 16 Years, Gujarat Saw 180 Custodial Deaths – and Zero Convictions reported on 21 June 2019, Source Link.
[2] Kritika Bansal, Hyderabad rape accused killed: Locals chant ‘police zindabad’, shower flowers on cops, reported on 6th December, 2019, India Today, Source Link.
[3] Isha Sharma, While Singam Director Hari Apologizes For Glorifying Police Brutality, Ranveer Gets Trolled For Simmba, reported on 29th June 2019, Source Link.
[4]Siddhant Pandey, Sent from one police station to another: Priyanka Reddy’s father, reported on 30 November 2019, Source Link.
[5] Figure 7.19 and 7.20, Page 146, Status of Policing in India Report 2019: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions, Common Cause, Source Link.
[6] Nithya Subramaniam, In charts: High approval for police violence in India – 80% among police, 50% among citizens reported on 8 September 2019,, Source Link.
[7] The Wire Staff, TN Custodial Deaths: Madras HC Finds Prima Facie Evidence to Book Cops for Murder reported on 1st July 2020, Source Link.
[8] G.C Shekhar, Custodial Death Of Father-Son Duo In Tamil Nadu: Doctor’s Report Points To Police Torture, reported on 27th June 2019, Source Link.
[9] Table 16A.6, Cases Registered against State Police Personnel for Human Rights Violation – 2018, Source Link.
[10]Only 428 FIRs were filed in 1,022 custodial deaths between 2000-2016, says NCRB data, The New Indian Express, Source Link.
[11] The Scroll Staff, India’s legal system favours the rich and powerful, says retiring Supreme Court judge reported on 7th March 2020, Source Link.
[12] supra Note 5
[13] PRESS RELEASE: India Records Daily Five Deaths In Custody, Uttar Pradesh Tops Deaths In Police Custody During 2019 reported on 26 June, 2020, Source Link.
[14] Ibid 13
[15] India: Killings in Police Custody Go Unpunished reported on 19 December 2016, Human Rights Watch, Source Link.
[16] AIR 1997 SC 610
[17] 1980 AIR 1579
[18] Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration 1980 AIR 1579
[19] Iyer V R Krishna, My Creative Tenure as Minister of Prisons, Leaves from My Personal Life, Gyan Publishing House (2017), Chapter 5, Page 66
[20] Ibid Pg 67
[21] Para 79 Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration 1980 AIR 1579
[22] AIR 1997 SC 3011
[23] Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration 1980 AIR 1579
[24] D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal 1997 1 SCC 416
[25] (2011) PL May S-12
[26] 1985 AIR 416
[27] (2011) 6 SCC 189
[28] Even up till 1981, all its actions (even extra-judicial ones) were extended the benefit of ‘sovereign immunity’ by the Judiciary. It was in the 1981 case of Khatri v. State of Bihar (Bhagalpur Blinding Case) (AIR 1981 SC 928), that the Supreme Court first refuted the application of ‘sovereign immunity’ doctrine for police, and held that victims were entitled to the right to compensation. In was in the year 1983, in Rudul Shah v. State of Bihar ( AIR 1983 SC 1086) saw the first time the Supreme Court recognized violation of fundamental rights on an individual by the prison authorities and awarded compensation to the victim.
[29] Page 20, Manual on Human Rights for Police Officers, National Human Rights Commission India
[30] Statement of Mahatma Gandhi delivered on 18th March 1922, in a trial court where he was being tried for commission of sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
[31] Sunil Batra, Supra note 18

Mohammad Adil Ansari

Founding Member & Editor in Chief @LegalWires.

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