Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Guidelines of Bombay high court regarding custodial interrogation of accused

 We are of the view that this can be achieved if following

guidelines are followed:
(i) In respect of petty offences, such as cases of chain
snatching under Section 379, 380 of I.P.C. and
similar offences; or where punishment is less than
three years; or where offender has been arrested for
the first time, he may not be interrogated after 10.00
p. m., and only in exceptional circumstances,
interrogation may be undertaken after 10.00 p.m.
(ii) Even in respect of habitual offenders of the same
category, viz. 379, 380 I.P.C., etc. also, as far as
possible, custodial interrogation at night may not be
undertaken.
(iii) Legal aid, apart from being provided to the police
station, shall be provided when remand applications
are filed and the learned Magistrate should ask the
accused whether he requires some legal aid at that
stage and if he shows his inclination of being given
legal aid, the State Government should provide legal
aid and pay adequate fees to such Legal Aid lawyers.
(iv) Custodial interrogation may also be monitored by a
senior police officer from time to time, so that if
there are excessive interrogations, he can stop such
interrogations, at right time. However, the
suggestions given by the Petitioner may be taken

into consideration by the Committee, to be
constituted by the Director General of Police, since
they are experts in the fields and aware of the pros
and cons of this field, they shall make proper
suggestions and frame guidelines.
(v) The Committee shall also be constituted for the
purpose of installation of CCTV cameras and
surveillance system.
(vi) The State shall submit a list of custodial deaths,
which have taken place every month.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION No. 2110 OF 2014
Leonard Xavier Valdaris & Ors. ... Petitioners
Vs.
Officer-in-Charge,
Wadala Railway Police Station & Ors. ... Respondents
WITH
CRIMINAL PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION No. 8 OF 2008
Indian Centre for Human Rights
and Law Bandra, Mumbai … Petitioners
 Vs.
The State of Maharashtra … Respondent

 CORAM : V. M. KANADE, &
 Dr. SHALINI PHANSALKAR-JOSHI, JJ.
 DATE : OCTOBER 21, 2015



1. Learned counsel Ms. Rebecca Gonsalvez, appearing for
the CBI submits that an approval has been granted by the State for

filing charge-sheet in the matter of custodial death, and very soon the
charge-sheet would be filed.
2. Mr. Srihari Aaney, learned Advocate General, appearing
on behalf of the Respondent-State submits that State of Maharashtra is
installing CCTV cameras in 25 police stations, which are earmarked as
sensitive police stations. So far as work of installing CCTV cameras
in rest of the police stations all over Maharashtra is concerned, it
would be undertaken as per the directions given by this Court. He
submitted that he would consider the suggestions made in this petition
for providing legal aid services in the police station itself to accused
who are arrested and produced for remand.
3. He also invited our attention to the communication dated
29th July, 2015, accompanied with judgment of the Apex Court dated
24th July, 2015, wherein the issue of installation of CCTV Cameras
was considered.
4. Learned senior counsel Mr. Mihir Desai, appearing for
the Petitioner in Cri. PIL No. 8 of 2008 while supporting the
suggestions made by the Apex Court submitted that legal aid can be

made available at the police station and NGOs may be permitted to
help to the accused, who are arrested at the police station itself.
5. We have suggested the learned Advocate General to find
out the ways and means to ensure, apart from installation of CCTV
Cameras, that the police are sensitised right from the time when they
are inducted in the police force, and thereafter, after every couple of
years, they may be sent to the police academy for sensitisation on the
subject of custodial death. We have suggested to the learned Advocate
General that the steps should be taken to ensure that in the next six
months, number of custodial deaths in the State of Maharashtra is
reduced to “0”. We are of the view that suggestions made by learned
counsel Mr. Yug Choudhary and the learned senior counsel Mr. Mihir
Desai for reducing and stopping the custodial deaths may be
considered by a Committee, which is to be constituted by the Director
General of Police. We direct the Director General of Police to
constitute a Committee of three senior police officers to consider the
suggestions and have the ways and means for stopping the custodial
deaths.
6. We are of the view that this can be achieved if following

guidelines are followed:
(i) In respect of petty offences, such as cases of chain
snatching under Section 379, 380 of I.P.C. and
similar offences; or where punishment is less than
three years; or where offender has been arrested for
the first time, he may not be interrogated after 10.00
p. m., and only in exceptional circumstances,
interrogation may be undertaken after 10.00 p.m.
(ii) Even in respect of habitual offenders of the same
category, viz. 379, 380 I.P.C., etc. also, as far as
possible, custodial interrogation at night may not be
undertaken.
(iii) Legal aid, apart from being provided to the police
station, shall be provided when remand applications
are filed and the learned Magistrate should ask the
accused whether he requires some legal aid at that
stage and if he shows his inclination of being given
legal aid, the State Government should provide legal
aid and pay adequate fees to such Legal Aid lawyers.
(iv) Custodial interrogation may also be monitored by a
senior police officer from time to time, so that if
there are excessive interrogations, he can stop such
interrogations, at right time. However, the
suggestions given by the Petitioner may be taken

into consideration by the Committee, to be
constituted by the Director General of Police, since
they are experts in the fields and aware of the pros
and cons of this field, they shall make proper
suggestions and frame guidelines.
(v) The Committee shall also be constituted for the
purpose of installation of CCTV cameras and
surveillance system.
(vi) The State shall submit a list of custodial deaths,
which have taken place every month.
7. S.O. to 8th December, 2015. Copy of this order be sent to
all the Judicial Magistrates (First Class) in the State of Maharashtra.
8. In our order dated 13th October, 2015 in first line of
paragraph 4, it is mentioned that “Though an affidavit has been filed
regarding the steps taken ….”. It is submitted such an affidavit has not
been filed, and therefore the word “not” be added in the said sentence.
The said sentence shall now be read as: “Though an affidavit has not
been filed regarding the steps taken ….”. Order dated 13.10.2015 is
accordingly modified in the aforesaid terms.
[Dr. SHALINI PHANSALKAR-JOSHI, J.] [V. M. KANADE, J.]

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