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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

HC seeks govt affidavit on custodial deaths


The Meghalaya High Court on August 23 directed the state government to file an affidavit related to persons, who suffered custodial death since 2012, within the next 10 days.

A comprehensive chart has been submitted before the court covering the names of all the persons who, according to the state, died in custody in the state since 2012 during the hearing on a PIL.

In its order, the two-member bench said, “The State should file an affidavit in the nature of an affidavit of service appending copies of all advertisements and notices issued inviting the next of kin of any person who died in custody in the State since 2012 to be represented in course of the present proceedings. Such affidavit should be filed within the next 10 days.”

The order said several heirs or legal representatives of the persons who suffered custodial death in the state since 2012 are represented.

Advocates representing such persons will have access to the file in court so that they may be able to make appropriate submission.

Amicus Curiae have also drawn the court’s attention to the report of a magisterial inquiry following the custodial death of a person on August 4, 2015 at the Jowai Police Station.

At the last page of the report, where certain recommendations had been made by the then Additional District Magistrate, West Jaintia Hills District, Jowai, the first point stands out: “(1) In view of the fact that a suicide case had occurred earlier on 23/08/2013 when two persons Kitbok Kshiar and Daphah Salanki Rupon had both committed suicide at the same time inside the same police lock-up, the Home Department (Police) may kindly consider installation of CCTV in the Police Stations all over the State with special consideration to Jowai PS. CCTV should be installed as done in Sadar Police Station, Shillong.”

The court said its attention was drawn to the relevant recommendation since it clearly states that the two persons, Kitbok Kshiar and Daphah Salanki Rupon, had allegedly committed suicide in Jowai Police Station on August 23, 2013.

However, it said that the names of such two persons have not been included in the list of persons furnished by the State which is said to be comprehensive and include the names of all persons who suffered custodial death in the State since 2012.

The court has directed that the deponent of the affidavit which was filed containing the comprehensive list of persons who suffered custodial death in the State since 2012 will furnish an explanation within the next seven days as to why the names of Kitbok Kshiar and Daphah Salanki Rupon were not indicated in the list.

Full details pertaining to the deaths of the said two persons, including the post-mortem reports and inquiry reports, should also be appended to the relevant affidavit, it said while adding that the next of kin of the said two deceased persons should also be informed of the adjourned date and of their right to be represented in course of the hearing.

The next hearing on the matter will be held on September 19.

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