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Report No. 113

Injuries in Police Custody

Chapter 1


1.1. Genesis.-

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 on which a comprehensive report has already been forwarded by the Law Commission,1 seems to need amendment in the light of certain observations made by the Supreme Court in a recent judgment.2 The Supreme Court had to deal with a highly shocking incident of torture of a suspect in police custody, who died within almost six hours of his arrest by the police. A trial of the concerned police officer and his superior resulted in conviction for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. In the course of its judgment, the Supreme Court passed strictures about the treatment meted out by the police to the detained suspect and felt constrained to go to the length of suggesting an amendment in the law of evidence, in regard to the burden of proof in such cases.

1. Law Commission of India, 69th Report (Indian Evidence Act, 1872).

2. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Ram Sagar Yadav, (Criminal Appeal No. 69 of 1975, decided 22nd January, 1985): AIR 1985 SC 416 (March-April): (1985) 1 SCALE 108.

1.2. Taking note of the Supreme Court judgment, the Law Commission of India decided to take up the subject on its own and to examine whether there is need for reform of the law on the subject.

1.3. In order to facilitate a consideration of the subject, the Law Commission had prepared and circulated a Working Paper setting out the present position and the gist of the Supreme Court judgment and discussing the need for amendment. The Commission had invited views from interested persons and bodies and the public on the Working Paper.1 The Commission is grateful for all those who have, in response to the Working Paper, sent in their comments. A gist of the views expressed in these comments will be given in, a later Chapter of this Report2.

1. Law Commission of India, Working Paper on Injuries in Police Custody: Suggested section 114B, Evidence Act, (14 June, 1985).

2. Chapter 4, infra.

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