Amicus curiae urges SC to pass additional guidelines to prevent custodial torture
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that despite existing guidelines framed in the DK Basu case, instances of custodial torture continue to recur.
Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has urged the Supreme Court to pass additional guidelines to prevent custodial torture, Live Law reported on Thursday.
Singhvi, who is the amicus curiae in the landmark DK Basu versus West Bengal case, made the submission before a bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M Trivedi on January 24.
In the DK Basu case of 1996, the Supreme Court had issued elaborate guidelines to check the abuse of police powers. Singhvi has now approached the court to revive the proceedings of the case for additional guidelines related to custodial torture.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the court asked Singhvi whether there was a need to pursue the case since the guidelines are already being followed in the country.
To this, Singhvi said that despite the guidelines, instances of custodial torture continue to recur. He also told the bench that guidelines come into effect only after the arrest of an individual.
“All the safeguards such as display of name-tag, allowing to talk to somebody, etc. arise after arrest,” Singhvi told the bench. “When a police officer is high-handed, DK Basu will not stop him.”
Singhvi also suggested that enquiry by a judicial magistrate or metropolitan magistrate is needed in all cases of custodial deaths, including natural deaths or deaths by any illness.
Presently, an enquiry by a judicial magistrate is conducted only in cases where there is suspicion of foul play.
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the Centre told the court that Parliament has already formed a committee to relook at criminal laws in the country.
“If Parliament is already dealing with the matter or the parliamentary committee, we will take a call on that,” the bench then said.
The case will be next heard on March 14.