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Custodial violence is defined by the phrase "custody," which is not defined by procedural law but is defined by the dictionary as "the legal right and duty to care for someone." "Violence" refers to someone's activity that causes physical pain or energy consumption, and is defined as "cruelty," "atrocity," or "hurt" in layman's terms. Whether an individual is a prisoner or not, the state is responsible for protecting his or her rights. When a person is held or arrested by an official authority, the term "custody" is employed.

There are two types of custody, according to Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. "Police custody can only be granted for a maximum of 15 days," according to Section 167(1). As a result, a police officer can arrest a person on two occasions: first, from the time of arrest until he is produced in court, and second, when the police receive a remand after presenting him in court, and the accused is then placed in judicial custody until he receives bail.


Custodial violence can be classified into physical, psychological and sexual torture.

Physical Torture -Punching, slapping, beating, forced body positions, stretching limbs, suspension, movement restriction, burning with cigarettes or caustic substance, cutting with sharp instruments, electric shocks, mutilating body parts, chemical exposures in wounds, dental torture, and starvation are all examples of physical torture.

Psychological Torture - Threatening to injure or murder the victim, his relatives or friends, causing him to hear or witness others being tortured, compelling him to harm others, violating religious beliefs, and humiliation are all examples of mental torture.

Sexual Torture - Victims of incarcerated rape are subjected to yet another form of torture. Custodial rape is described as rape committed by a person in control of a state-owned facility, such as a prison or jail. Sexual harassment, forced impregnation, and virginity testing are examples of other forms of sexual torture.


Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

Parliament passed this Act in response to national and international calls for legislation to defend human rights. The changing needs of society and the nature of crime necessitate an effective and efficient strategy for dealing with this problem, as well as justice through openness and more accountability.

Guidelines of Supreme Court in case of D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal

In this case, the court recognised the urgency of the situation and the need for arresting equipment. The court stated that the system requires more transparency and accountability. As a result, the Apex Court has issued specific criteria that law enforcement forces must follow while arresting a person.

The police officer should have an accurate and unambiguous identity of that person, as well as all of the details of the police officer who is in charge of the investigation of that accused person. A memo of arrest should be prepared by a police officer and signed by one witness, who might be a family member of the arrestee or a nearby person, as well as signed by the arrested person with the date and time on it. A person who has been arrested, imprisoned in police custody, or locked up has the right to notify his family, relatives, and friends as quickly as possible.

If a member of the arrestee's family or a friend resides outside the town or district, they must be notified by a Legal Aid Organization in the district or police station within 8 to 12 hours of the arrest. The arrested person must be aware of his rights and the basis for his detention. A diary of notes should be kept in which the name of his next companion is listed, as well as information about the police officers in charge of the arrestee. Every 48 hours during the arrest, the arrestee must be examined by a certified doctor appointed by the Director of State or Union Health Services. The arrestee has the right to meet with his lawyer, but only during the interrogation. All District level and State headquarters should have a police central room. It is necessary to provide information on the arrest and the location of detention.


The current situation in India is horrible, with a steady rise in documented incidences of incarceration violence. It's paradoxical that the law enforcement agencies who were created to protect people's rights are the ones that take basic human rights for granted and commit activities that violate them. When law enforcers become lawbreakers, it amounts to disrespect for the law itself. The implicit social compact in the state's organisation has been shattered.

As a result, a special law adopted for the same reason must make custodial violence a penal offence. The public must be made aware of the need of properly enforcing constitutional and statutory provisions protecting prisoners' rights, as well as the Supreme Court's guidelines. In order to prevent the occurrence of more similar custodial crimes, the public, particularly NGOs and the media, must constantly monitor police atrocities.

This article is written by Tanishka bajaj of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.

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