Writing the judgment, Justice Lokur said, “Like most societies, we are not strangers to custodial violence and unnatural deaths.
New Delhi: Expressing serious concern over the large number of unnatural deaths, including suicides taking place in prisons across the country, the Supreme Court on Friday asked all the high courts to take suo motu cognisance of such deaths and award compensation to their families.
Giving this judgment in a case relating to custodial deaths and deaths in prisons, a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, asked the chief justice of each high court to register a suo motu public interest petition with a view to identifying the next of kin of the prisoners who have admittedly died an unnatural death as revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau during the period between 2012 and 2015.
Writing the judgment, Justice Lokur said, “Like most societies, we are not strangers to custodial violence and unnatural deaths. The right sounding noises critical of custodial violence (in any form) can’t achieve any useful purpose unless persons in authority hear the voices of the victims or the silence of the dead and act on them by taking remedial steps. There must be a greater degree of sensitivity among those in authority with regard to persons in custody and it has been the endeavour of the constitutional courts in our country, over several decades, to consistently flag this issue.”
The court asked the states not to shirk from its responsibilities.