669 cases of deaths in police custody registered in last five years: MHA to Rajya Sabha

8 February, 2023 | Pragati Singh

police National

669 occurrences of deaths while in police custody were reported nationwide.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 669 occurrences of deaths while in police custody were reported nationwide in the five years between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2022. Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home, informed the House in a written response, citing information from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In all, 175 occurrences of deaths in police custody were documented between 2021 and 2022, 100 between 2020 and 2021, 112 between 2019 and 2021, 136 between 2018 and 2019 and 146 between 2017 and 2018.

Rai said, “According to the information submitted by the NHRC, during the period from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2022, in occurrences of deaths in police custody, the NHRC recommended monetary assistance in 201 cases totaling Rs 5,80,74,998 and disciplinary action in one case.

However, the Minister clarified that, in accordance with the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution, law enforcement and public order are matters of state. He stated that the preservation of human rights falls principally under the purview of the relevant state government.

The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHR), 1993, which mandates the establishment of the NHRC and State Human Rights Commissions to investigate claims of human rights abuses by public employees, is also periodically issued by the Central government, according to Rai.

The Minister stated that when the NHRC receives complaints of alleged abuses of human rights, the Commission acts in accordance with the guidelines established under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

“The NHRC also organizes workshops and seminars from time to time to sensitize public servants for a better understanding of human rights and, in particular, the protection of rights of persons in custody,” Rai said.