Andhra Pradesh: Human Rights Forum writes to Chief Secretary on magisterial inquiry

Human Rights Forum (HRF) has taken strong objection to Revenue Divisional Officers (RDOs) conducting a magisterial inquiry into the alleged deaths in police custody.

In a letter to Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma on Wednesday, the HRF members pointed out that in the recent alleged deaths of Madipalli Appa Rao (36), a farm hand of Pothunuru village of Denduluru mandal, while in the custody of the Bhimadole police in Eluru and that of a self-employed electrician Betha Rambabu (42), who died on February 11, this year, in the precincts of the Nellimarla police station of Vizianagaram district, the RDOs have conducted magisterial inquiries thought they are not empowered to do so as per law.

As per V.S. Krishna of the HRF, the insertion of Section 176 (1A) through an amendment to the Cr. PC in the year 2005, mandates that all custodial deaths should be inquired into by a Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate rather than an Executive Magistrate.

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 was to insulate the administration of criminal justice from institutional bias and to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done, pointed out Mr. Krishna.

The objective is to see that the whole investigation is conducted under the watch of the judiciary, which would thereby act as a check on the investigating agency. It would also dispel suspicions about foul play. Clearly, an RDO is not empowered to conduct the inquiry and such an inquiry has no legal sanctity, said Mr. Krishna.

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Printable version | May 11, 2022 6:35:42 pm |