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Report No. 152

8.4. Investigation by the police and other agencies.-

Generally, complaints relating to an a offence against the body of a person in the custody of police is not recorded by the police officers on account of brotherhood and fellow feeling. Information or complaint by the wife or children of the deceased person or by the victim generally ignored and since such a class of persons generally have no resources, they are not in a position to approach the Superintendent of Police or the courts for redressal of their grievances.

If the police which protects the citizens itself violates the law in committing torture and assault on a person in custody and if complaint against their action is not recorded by the police, the question arises how the allegation of a victim or his relation is to be investigated. In such a situation courts have been compelled to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the cases. The Supreme Court1 in, a case of alleged death in the custody of Directorate of Enforcement and the Delhi High Court2 in the case of alleged death in police custody directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate.

There are many reported decisions where the allegations of custodial crimes have been directed to be investigated. In some cases the courts have appointed judicial officers like the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sessions Judge or a District Judge to hold inquiry into the police excesses relating to custodial crimes. These episodes show the desirability of having an independent investigating agency to inquire and investigate into allegations relating to custodial crimes.

In some of the responses to our questionnaire, a suggestion has been made to have an independent agency other than the police to investigate the complaints relating to custodial crimes. A suggestion has also been made to entrust investigation in such matters to the Central Bureau of Investigation. There is another suggestion to provide for inquiry by judicial officers through the agency of Magistrates and the Sessions Judges as has been done by courts in several cases.

Having given our anxious consideration to this vexed problem, we think that it may not be possible or feasible owing to financial considerations to set up another independent agency exclusively for the purpose of investigating complaints relating to the commission of custodial offences.

We are of the opinion that there is a need for the higher officers of the police administration to impress upon the police officers in-charge of the police stations the need to record information relating to the commission of custodial crimes and every administrative effort should be made to implement this policy and to take disciplinary action against the erring officials. But this administrative exercise would not in itself meet the present need.

We think that it would be desirable and proper to provide by law for the filing of petition on the refusal of the police to register a case of custodial violence before a judicial officer for inquiry and prosecution of the erring police officers. The inquiry by the judicial officer would keep the police under supervision and control and it will also inspire people's confidence.

1. Death of Sarvinder Singh Grover (in re:), 1993 (1) Cr LR 163 (SC).

2. Bharat Bhushan v. State, (1986) Cr LJ 1624 (Del).

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