Custodial Violence: Horrendous Crime in a Civilised Society

  • Shephalika Srivastava
  • Show Author Details
  • Shephalika Srivastava

    LL.M Student at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University Lucknow, India.

  • img Download Full Paper


Custodial violence, perhaps one of the worst crimes in a civilized society is a matter of concern for many reasons. Custodial violence, including torture and death in the lock-ups, strikes a heavy blow at the rule of law, which demands that the powers of the executive should not only be derived from law but also that they should be limited by law. The law of arrest expects both individual rights and the state’s collective responsibility toward society. In most scenarios, it becomes a challenge to strike a perfect balance between both. Transparency of action and accountability are possible safeguards to prevent abuse of power to arrest a citizen. Custodial violence broadly includes custodial deaths, torture, and as per the new trend in the crime pattern, even custodial rapes. Custodial Violence in India is widespread, unaccounted for, and rarely prosecuted. It contributes to the state of anarchy and lawlessness in many parts of the country. Violence is used as a cheap and easy method of investigation and also as a tool for oppression. It is almost an unwritten understanding that when an officer asks his subordinates to ‘thoroughly interrogate a suspect’ it would simply mean ‘torture’. In the case of D. K Basu V State of West Bengal, the highest body of justice, the Supreme Court, had clearly stated, “Custodial torture is a naked violation of human dignity. The situation is aggravated when violence occurs within the four walls of a police station by those who are supposed to protect citizens”, also paying consideration to the tediousness of police task in yielding control over its civil population. Human Dignity is the highest form of fundamental right respected even by our most powerful and prestigious statute book, the Indian Constitution. When an individual is taken under custody, it means that he/ she becomes the legal property of the state, which also means the state and its missionaries become their legal guardians and all its institutions are at their disposal to reprimand them as well as guard them. But the idea of state custody has become so alarming that society fears cooperation and even the notion of police and police stations.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 5, Page 195 - 210


Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


Copyright © IJLMH 2021