Supreme Court
Supreme Court

New Delhi: A 3-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in Thursday rejected a writ petition of former union law minister Dr Ashwani Kumar seeking directions to Parliament to enact a suitable standalone comprehensive legislation based on the UN convention.

In the 48-page judgment penned by Justice Sanjiv Khanna on behalf of the CJI and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, the Apex Court clarified that notwithstanding rejection of the prayer, it would not in any way affect the courts to deal with the individual cases of alleged custodial torture and pass appropriate orders.

It noted that the Apex Court can issue appropriate guidelines and improve upon its directions in the D K Basu case, but "this is not what is urged and prayed by the applicant (Ashwani Kumar)" in the writ petition.

It, however, reiterated its 11-point direction issued in the D K Basu case with respect to rights and custodial torture. The Bench also referred to Sections 330 and 331 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession or to compel restoration of property" while noting that the legal jurisprudence has developed for providing compensation for the unconstitutional deprivation of fundamental right to life and liberty for damages by tortuous acts of public servants.

SC’s 11-point direction in the D K Basu case include

Police personnel carrying out arrest and interrogation must bear accurate and visible name tags with their designations. Memo of arrest prepared at the time of arrest to be counter signed by the arrestee with date and time and have signature of at least one witness. Person in custody in police station or interrogation centre or other lockup entitled to have one friend or relative informed about the arrest, as soon as practicable. Arrested person must be made aware of this right to have someone informed of his arrest or detention as soon as he is arrested or detained and name of the person so informed will be entered in the case diary. Medical examination of the arrestee if so requested by a trained doctor every 48 hours during detention in custody. Arrestee allowed to meet his lawyer during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation. Copies of all document including the memo of arrest to be sent to the area magistrate for record. Officer causing the arrest to communicate to the police control room within 12 hours and displayed on a conspicuous notice board.

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