//Custody deaths in Maharashtra : Is state on rights track, asks court

Custody deaths in Maharashtra : Is state on rights track, asks court

Anshika Misra
Wednesday, January 18, 2006  23:44 IST

Expressing concern about the high number of custody deaths in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the state to file a reply on the implementation of the NHRC guidelines on deaths in police custody. The directions were passed in an ongoing PIL filed in 2004.

According to it, 26 custody deaths had been reported from the state in 2002-2003—the highest in the country. Advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for the petitioner, India Centre for Human Rights and Law, told the court that the state comes second in number of custodial deaths.

Justice RM Lodha and Justice AV Mohta expressed shock at the figures and asked the state to explain the cause for such deaths.

As per the guidelines, all custody deaths must be reported to the NHRC within 24 hours, post-mortem of a victim should be video-recorded, a friend or a close relative should be allowed to be present at the post-mor-tem and NGOs or government authorities should visit the lock-ups to check the grievances of the accused.