By Sharvari Lohakare
The Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record Association (SCAORA) has deeply denounced the ‘barbaric custodial torture’ wreaked upon the father son duo by the police officers of Sathankulam Police Station at Thoothukudi District in Tamil Nadu. The entire committee has called the incident ‘shocking’assault on humanity and has expressed the need to take stringent actions against the culpable officials who misbehaved. On Monday the Association has passed a resolution stating that, “The SCAORA is of the view that the need for the implementation of the police reforms, as has been directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, has assumed grave urgency to prevent the recurrence of such shocking cases and to maintain the Rule of Law.“
For the context, Shri Jeyaraj and his son Shri Bennicks were arrested by the Sathankulam police on June19, alleging them for violating lockdown restrictions and misbehaving with on duty police personnel. These two were remanded to judicial custody at Kovilpatti Sub Jail on June 20. Both of them died in the following days by alleged brutal police excesses and lack of proper medical care.
The SCAORA has expressed its deep anguish and dismay on this tragic incident and has stated that. “Since the competent authorities are stated to be examining the conduct of the police, of the doctor in not giving them proper medical attention in the government hospital and of the concerned judicial magistrate sending them in remand without due process in the said case, the SCAORA is, at present, confining itself to condemning the custodial torture and deaths as crimes against humanity, and calling upon the authorities to take the strictest possible action, including prosecution for commission of criminal offences, against such officers who are found to be guilty.“
The Association has called upon all concerned to take immediate steps to ensure that the police and the magistracy across the country give respect to the constitutional guarantees of an accused, adhere with the provisions of CrPC and comply with various directions and guidelines formulated by the Supreme Court in a catena of cases, including though not limited to arrest, detention, humane custodial treatment and bail. The said matter has now come under judicial scanner in a suo moto case registered by the Madras High Court and a division bench comprising Justice PN Prakash and Justice B Pugalendhi. A judicial probe has been ordered. Meanwhile, the Director General of Tamil Nadu Police has issued fresh guidelines (SOP) for arrest/remand of accused persons.