The Bombay high court on Friday raised questions about the methods of investigations used by the police and suggested that guidelines be formulated for the police to follow while interrogating an accused in order to protect his/her human rights and ensure that he/she is not tortured leading to his/her death.
A division bench of justices VM Kanade and PD Kode said: "While the police are within their right to interrogate an accused, a mechanism should be evolved to ensure that they do not use excessive steps or force so as to result in custodial death."
The observation was made during the hearing of a petition filed by Leonard Valdaris and three others seeking registration of offence against the erring police personnel attached to Wadala Government Railway Police (GRP).
The bench criticized the custodial brutalities saying, "They have lost all sense of proportionality, sensitivity and all constitutional rights of the accused are thrown overboard." They must use common sense and see to what extent a person can bear torture."
The state government on Friday informed the court that a First Information Report (FIR), dated June 11, had been filed against seven policemen for their alleged role in the custodial death of a youth and sexual abuse of three others held in a robbery case.
Public Prosecutor SS Shinde informed the court: "All the seven policemen, including a senior police inspector, of Wadala Railway police here, have been transferred to various places outside Mumbai and the probe is being conducted by the Detection of Crime Branch (Unit IV)."
Victim Agnelo Valdaris (24) and three others were allegedly tortured and sexually abused by the Wadala Railway police in April. The petition alleged that Agnelo died in custody after being tortured by police, However, the Wadala Railway police claimed that he had run away from the police station and crossed the railway tracks when he was run over by a train on April 18.
The court asked the state government to file an affidavit on June 17 giving information on the ongoing probe. The prosecutor informed the court that instructions had been issued to police, restraining them from establishing contact or communication with the seven accused policemen as the probe was on. Besides, permission had been sought from a district magistrate to exhume the body of the deceased for a detailed probe into his death.
The four boys were picked up by Wadala railway police from their residence on April 15 and April 16. They were taken to the police station where they were allegedly beaten up and questioned where they had kept a gold chain and a ring suspected to be stolen by them.
The petition apart from seeking a CBI probe, has sought compensation of Rs 1 crore for the deceased, and Rs 50 lakh each for the three others, who were arrested and allegedly sexually abused in custody.