Custodial torture still prevails: CJI

Custodial torture still prevails: CJI

New Delhi: Custodial torture and other police atrocities still prevail in India and even the “privileged are not spared third-degree treatment”, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said on Sunday and asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to carry out nationwide sensitisation of police officers .
Terming the project Access to Justice as an unending mission , the CJI also said that for becoming a society governed by the rule of law, it was necessary to bridge the gap of accessibility to justice between the highly privileged and the most vulnerable .
If, as an institution, the judiciary wants to garner the faith of the citizens, we have to make everyone feel assured that we exist for them. For the longest time, the vulnerable population has lived outside the system of justice, he said.
The past should not determine the future and all should work to bring equality, Justice Ramana stressed at the launch of a legal service mobile application and the vision and mission statement of NALSA at Vigyan Bhawan here.
The mobile App will help poor and needy people in applying for legal aid and seek victim compensation.
NALSA was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of the society and to organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
The threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in police stations. Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems that still prevail in our society. In spite of constitutional declarations and guarantees, the lack of effective legal representation at the police stations is a huge detriment to arrested/detained persons.
The decisions taken in these early hours will later determine the ability of the accused to defend himself. Going by the recent reports even the privileged are not spared third-degree treatment, the CJI said.
The CJI, who is also the Patron-in-Chief of NALSA, said that to keep police excesses in check dissemination of information about the constitutional right to legal aid and availability of free legal aid services is necessary.
The installation of display boards and outdoor hoardings in every police station/prison is a step in this direction, he said, adding that the NALSA must also actively carry out nationwide sensitisation of police officers.
Stressing the need for bridging the gap of accessibility to justice between the highly privileged and the most vulnerable, the CJI said for all times to come, we must remember that, the realities of socio-economic diversity which prevail in our nation, cannot ever be a reason for denial of rights”.

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