NHRC issues summons to Gujarat IG of Prisons on custodial death

The jail and district officials had ignored NHRC’s notices, asking them to submit their action taken reports regarding the death of a 30-year-old prisoner

NHRC issues summons to Gujarat IG of Prisons on custodial death

Nachiketa Desai

In an unprecedented move, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued “unconditional summons” to Gujarat’s Inspector General (IG) of Prisons to appear before the commission on Tuesday, November 8, at 11 am in connection with the custodial death of a 30-year-old man lodged in Amreli jail in June 2017.

NHRC has also issued unconditional summons to the district magistrate, the superintendent of police, and the Amreli district jail superintendent. Earlier on July 11, 2019, the NHRC had issued “conditional summons” to these officials to file a report on or before September 6, 2019 regarding the action taken against those accused of causing the custodial death of one Jigneshbhai Sondarva.

Following non-compliance, the IG of Prisons, Gujarat, was asked to appear in person before the Commission along with the action taken report on September 13, 2019. However, the IG of Prisons did not file the requisite report, nor did he appear before the Commission on September 13, 2019, but sent across a letter dated August 14, 2019 by the Amreli principal district judge which stated that a magisterial enquiry under section 176 CrPC on the custodial death was pending.

Issuing the notice, NHRC said, the IG and other authorities “cannot escape from filing the requisite reports and they are directed to furnish the requisite reports and documents in the death of inmate of the Amreli district jail”. NHRC charged the officials of “callous, irresponsible and non-responsive” attitude.

The reports sought by NHRC included complete medical treatment record, inquest report, magisterial enquiry report, post-mortem report, action taken report on the magisterial enquiry report, final status of departmental action or criminal proceedings against the offenders, health screening report of the victim at the time of entry in jail and final cause of death of the victim.

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