Report No. 177
3.9 Ensuring the safety and well being of the detainee is the responsibility of the detaining authority.-
It should also be provided by law expressly that once a person is arrested, it is the responsibility of the arresting and detaining authority to ensure the safety and well being of the detainee. The recommendation of National Police Commission regarding mandatory medical examination of the arrested person deserves implementation.
In this connection, the decision of A.P. High Court in Challa Ramkonda Reddy v. State of A.P. (AIR 1989 AP 235.- which has recently affirmed by the Supreme Court in AIR 2000 SC 208.- and the examples given therein, wherein the State would be liable for damages for the negligent or indifferent conduct of police/jail authorities should be kept in mind. To put briefly, take a case where a person is arrested for simple theft or simple rioting; he is a heart patient; he is not allowed to take his medicines with him at the time of his arrest and no medicines are provided to him in spite of his asking and he dies.
Or a case, where such a person (though carrying his medicines) suffers a heart attack and no reasonably prompt steps are taken for providing medical aid to him by the concerned authorities and he dies. It is obvious that had he not been arrested, his family and friends would have taken care of him. Should he die for want of medical help, only because he has been arrested and detained for a minor offence. It would be too big a punishment. In such cases, State would be liable for damages.