Taking serious note of custodial deaths in Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the state to devise a plan to prevent the menace.
“The incidences of custodial deaths are continuing unabated in Maharashtra; what preventive steps have you taken?” the division bench of judges Ajay Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhangale sought to know while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city NGO Indian Center for Human Rights and Law.
The bench directed the secretary (special), home department, to file his personal affidavit by April 1 disclosing what preventive measures were being taken to prevent custodial deaths.
The counsel for the petitioner, Rebecca Gonsalves, pointed out that during the last 10 years, more than 220 persons had died in police custody in Maharashtra. The PIL cites a report prepared by Asian Commission for Human Rights revealing that during between 2001 and 2009, 192 persons had died in police custody in the state.
According to an affidavit filed by the state government earlier, 24 persons died in police custody between January 2008 and March 2009, of which at least 15 deaths were attributable to atrocities committed by police personnel concerned or negligence on their part.