AUTHOR- Jahnavi S, School of Excellence in Law, TNDALU, Chennai.


The observations of the recent events have influenced the entire police force, bringing the same into contempt, lowering its prestige in the eyes of mankind for having a tendency to interfere with the administration of the country, and injuring the security of the state.

In the light of above fact, the author briefly discusses the recent case of police brutality and custodial death of two men from Tamil Nadu and its gross violation of Human Rights concerning National and International laws and concludes with a few suggestions.


The recent Tuticorin custodial death of the father and the son has sparked widespread protests all over the internet which is a contrast to the police brutality in Hyderabad last year where they killed 4 men who were accused of sexual assault after taking them into custody. It was revolted to us so much that people accepted that instantly considering it to be justice served, conveniently blurring the lines between moral judgment and the limits that are supposed to be put on the police power. This phenomenon of police brutality is not a new behavior in India. Police brutality exists since the time when the British established a police system through the Police Act of 1861. The human rights commissions established under The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (the Act) provide another means of holding the police accountable in cases of misconduct. The Third Report of the National Police Commission states that around 60 percent of arrests made by the police are unnecessary and without justification. The most important of these commissions is the National Human Rights Commission. According to the National Campaign against torture, 1731 people died during police interrogation in 2019. During the lockdown, police brutality has consistently increased.

In the present case in hand, the police arrested Jayaraj just because he had his shop open even after the curfew (for approximately 15 minutes). Later on when his son Fenix got to know about the same he rushed to the police station where he got arrested. They were arrested under sections 188,353,269,294b and 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code. The magistrate thereupon failed to physically examine him and mechanically let the police have their custody. They died after a few days and the reason stated was fever along with heart attack though they were tortured by the police. The Madurai bench has taken up a suo moto cognizance of the matter wherein the alleged predators have been suspended and the investigation has been transferred to the CBI for a free and fair investigation and inquiry. It has also been found that the CCTV footage of the police station has been deleted.


The Supreme Court has expressed its worries and serious concerns towards torture and deaths in police custody in several cases.[1]The Constitution in India does not contain an express prohibition of torture. However, the Supreme Court has construed Article 21 of the Constitution as including prohibition of torture. The Supreme Court in Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union of India,[2] held that any form of torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment would be offensive to human dignity and constitute an inroad into this right to live and it would on this view be prohibited by Article 21 unless it is in accordance prescribed by the law, but no law which authorizes and no procedure which leads to such torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment can ever stand the test of reasonableness and non- arbitrariness: it would be unconstitutional and void as being a violation of articles 14 and 21. Torturing people through third-degree methods is in gross violation of Article 21.[3] The unlawful arrest also derogates a person’s dignity, social status, and reputation. The Illegal detention in the present case violates Article 22 of the Constitution.[4]

Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1984) expressly ruled out subjection to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment to anyone. Article 4(2) of ICCPR freedom from torture is a basic non-degradable human right and Article 7 emphasized that none shall be subjected to torture. Article 9(5) provides for the right for compensation for the people who were illegally detained.

Declaration of protection from torture, the code of conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adoption of the principles of Medical Ethics advocate for the humane treatment of the accused in custody. Article 2 of Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by the General Assembly explicitly states that nothing can justify torture.[5]

In 1997, India was one of the 83 countries which signed the United Nations Convention against Torture which prohibits torture of any kind to an individual under arrest or detention and requires them to educate their law enforcement personnel, civilians, medical personnel regarding adhering to the provisions under this treaty. Sadly, India hasn’t ratified the terms even after so many years.


Nothing is more cowardly and unconscionable than a person in police custody being beaten up and nothing inflicts deeper wounds on our constitutional culture than a state official running berserk regardless of human rights.[6] There should be amendments made in the National Police Act, 1861 regarding illegal detention, and establish police complaint authority in every state as given in Prakash vs. Union of India.[7] India should ratify the different conventions which prevent the torture of the accused in custody. Human rights functionaries must consider the cases of custodial torture by police more effectively. Only when the police don’t use its powers in an arbitrary manner rule of law may prevail in the country.

[1] State of Madhya Pradesh vs. Shyamsundar Trivedi. J.T. 1995 (4) S.C. 445.

[2]1981 S.C.R (2) 516.

[3] Kishore Singh vs. State of Rajasthan. A.I.R. 1981 S.C. 625.

[4]D.k.basuvs. State of West Bengal. 1997(10 SCC 416

[5]Niraman Arora, Custodial Torture in Police Station in India: A Radical Assessment, The Indian Law Institute

[6] Kishore Singh vs. state of Rajasthan. A.I.R. 1981 S.C. 625.

[7] (2006) 8 SCC 1

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