Telangana HC orders magisterial probe into custodial death of Dalit woman

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

Nation, Current Affairs

The court said the inquiry should be completed in a week and the report furnished in a sealed cover

Telangana High Court. (PTI)

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the judicial first class magistrate of Alair division to inquire into the alleged custodial death of a Dalit woman at the Addagudur police station in Rachakonda commissionerate.

The court said the inquiry should be completed in a week and the report furnished in a sealed cover.

A division bench of Justice Ramachander Rao and Justice Vinod Kumar was hearing a petition filed by People's Union for Civil Libraries (PUCL), Telangana, represented by its general secretary Jaya Vindyala seeking a judicial probe into the death of Mariyamma, allegedly due to police brutality on June 18.

The division bench said the magistrate could order a second post-mortem examination of the body.

Advocate-general BS. Prasad informed the court that the guidelines promulgated by the NHRC had been followed in the case and the body of Mariyamma was handed over to her daughter. The constables involved in the alleged lock-up death had been suspended and an inquiry initiated.

The revenue division officer and the assistant commissioner of police of Medchal Maljakgiri district were conducting inquiries.

Justice Rao asked the A-G how could an executive authority hold an inquiry whereas the law mandates a judicial inquiry in such cases. Citing the amended Section 176 (1A) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which mandates judicial inquiry into every case of death, rape, and disappearance in police custody, the judge asked how the government confined the inquiry to the executive authority. This is nothing but flouting of the CrPC, the bench observed.

The court also expressed displeasure when the AG said, in response to a query, that CCTV cameras had not been installed in police stations. Justice Rao said it was also a violation of Supreme Court guidelines which mandated that every police station should have CCTV cameras that should be monitored by higher authorities.

Shashi Kiran, counsel who appeared for the PUCL, said there were several doubts about the death of Mariyamma and sought directions to the state government to pay Rs4 crore as exemplary compensation to the family of the victim, and that the money should be collected from the salaries of the officers and errant staff of the Addagudur police station.