June 16, 2017
On June 9, it was reported that 26-year-old law student, M Stalin, had been tortured by the police in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. On his way to drop his family members at the bus station, he was picked up by the police on suspicion of being part of a red sander smuggling network and detained for 18 hours. According to news reports, he pleaded with the cops to enquire with the college authorities and check up on his identity but to no avail.
During his 18-hour detention at the Tirupati East police station, Stalin was reportedly beaten by canes and boots and his mobile phone confiscated. He was then thrown into jail with other accused persons. His phone was returned to him around 10 p.m. the next day, at which time he made a call to his fellow comrades in the CPM’s youth wing, DYFI. The news reports quoted Stalin,
“The police realised their mistake and were also ready to pay for the injury they caused. But I refused the money. They should have cross-checked my claims. Instead, they ignored everything I said and did not even give me a chance to speak,”
This incident highlights the pervasiveness of the use of torture within India’s justice system, which the Asian Human Rights Commission(AHRC) has been raising for many years. Due process is an inalienable component of the rule of law, which in this case, as in many others, the police failed to follow.
In India, due process has been codified within the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Section 50 of the Code mandates that the person arrested must be informed of the grounds of arrest and of his right to bail. Furthermore, Section 50A (1) mandates that the arresting officers have an obligation to inform someone else nominated by the person about the arrest, and the place where the person is being detained. The police officer must inform the arrested person of his rights as soon as he is brought to the police station.