Law mandates judicial magistrates to inquire into custodial deaths, not RDOs: HRF to AP CS

Human Rights Forum (HRF) has demanded an inquiry into the custodial deaths by judicial magistrates under Section 176 (1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  12 May 2022 2:53 AM GMT
Law mandates judicial magistrates to inquire into custodial deaths, not RDOs: HRF to AP CS

Visakhapatnam: Human Rights Forum (HRF) has demanded an inquiry into the custodial deaths by judicial magistrates under Section 176 (1A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

In a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Dr. Sameer Sharma, the HRF General Secretary K Sudhaand and others said they have gathered from media reports and official statements that in events of deaths in police custody, Revenue Divisional Officers (RDOs) are conducting the mandatory magisterial inquiries. HRF said this does not meet the requirement of law.

HRF said the RDOs have conducted the magisterial inquiries into the custodial death of Madipalli Apparao (36), a farmhand of Pothunuru village of Denduluru Mandal, and electrician Betha Rambabu (420. HRF pointed out the RDOs are not empowered to hold inquiries as per law,

"We wish to bring to your notice that the insertion of Section 176 (1A) through an amendment to the CrPC in 2005 mandates that all custodial deaths should be probed by a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate rather than an Executive Magistrate," HRF said

HRF said this provision was inserted by the Criminal Law Amendment Act (Act 25 of 2005) and came into force on June 23, 2006. The objective of the amendment is to insulate the administration of criminal justice from institutional bias and to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done.

HRF said the whole investigation was to be conducted under the gaze of the judiciary, which would thereby act as a check on the investigating agency to act well within its purview. It would also dispel suspicions about fair play.

HRF said an RDO is not empowered to conduct the inquiry and such an inquiry has no legal sanctity. The act amounts to procedural ultra vires. HRF has brought this matter to the notice of both the Vizianagaram and Eluru Collectors, but to no avail, it said.

"To our knowledge, all magisterial inquiries conducted after the June 2006 amendment came into force have not been adhering to the letter of the CrPC 176 (1A). In most, if not all cases, the RDOs are holding the inquiries even though it is expressly impermissible in law," HRF said.

"We urge you to intervene and ensure that Section 176 (1A) is followed and all custodial deaths are inquired into by a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate and not an Executive Magistrate as is the practice now."

Next Story
Share it