The data on custodial deaths in the country was requested by Tamil Nadu MP Karti Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha.

69 persons died in custody in Tamil Nadu in 2019-20Image for representation/PTI
news Crime Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 13:40

According to data provided in answer to TN MP Karti Chidambaram’s questions,12 persons died in police custody and 57 persons died in judicial custody in Tamil Nadu in 2019-20.

The MP from Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga constituency had requested information from the union government regarding the number of persons who died in police and judicial custody in each month of 2019-20 for every state. He also demanded the number of deaths in police encounters as well as instances of sexual assault in police custody across the country during the same period.

Answering his questions on Tuesday, Kishan Reddy, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs provided the following information: As per the data available with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 113 persons have died in police custody across the country between April 1, 2019 and March 30, 2020. Out of 113, Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of deaths in police custody (14), followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat with 12 persons each. A total of 1584 persons have died in judicial custody across India in the same period, with 400 persons in Uttar Pradesh and 143 in Madhya Pradesh. Tamil Nadu recorded 57 deaths in judicial custody for the same period. The reasons behind these deaths -- ill health, police brutality or others -- have not been specified in the reply provided by the Minister.

The union government also revealed that 112 encounter killings have taken place in 2019-20, with 39 of them in Chhattisgarh and 26 in Uttar Pradesh. Tamil Nadu has reported three encounter killings in the same period. According to the NHRC, one instance of sexual assault in police custody has been registered between April 2019 and March 2020, which was in Rajasthan.

In regard to the action taken against the police personnel responsible for these crimes, the Minister responded that ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ comes under the purview of the state governments as per the Constitution. “...The responsibility of maintaining law and order, including investigation, registration and prosecution of crimes, conviction of the accused, protection of life and property, etc, rest primarily with the respective State Governments. Hence, any action against erring police officials has to be taken by the respective State Governments,” the response stated. The Minister added that while the NHRC has not recommended any action against the erring police personnel, it has recommended a compensation of Rs 4.4 crore for the families of those who died in custody and Rs 88 lakh to the kin of those killed in police encounters. 

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.