Abhishek Singhvi moves SC for reviving D K Basu case

Abhishek Manu Singhvi moves Supreme Court for reviving D K Basu case

Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Noted senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has filed a plea in the Supreme Court for reviving landmark 1986 case of D K Basu for issuing directions in case of custodial death, and torture.

He said a dangerous trend has started lately wherein the elected representatives have made statements in public that tend to encourage, patronise and endorse custodial violence or deaths and encounter killings.

The plea comes at a time when doubts have been raised over Uttar Pradesh police claims on encounter killings of gangster Vikas Dubey in Kanpur on July 10, days after he and his accomplices allegedly murdered eight policemen.

In an application, Singhvi, who acted as amicus curiae in the case, said, in recent past, the custodial deaths and encounters have not seen the necessary push back from the citizenry that is accepted of it; on the contrary in few cases such incidents have had huge public support.

"The laws and guidelines are not enough and there is a need of informed and compassionate citizenry too. Unfortunately due to continued and prolonged use of state violence and its depiction in the popular culture, coupled with lack of proper awareness of one's rights, has normalized the custodial deaths/encounters with public often celebrating such "knee-jerk vengeance justice" thereby denying a victim the dignity of a fair trial," the plea stated.

In the D K Basu case, the top court had on December 18, 1996 issued a slew of directions safeguarding rights of people arrested by the police.

Singhvi asked the top court to issue direction to the Union government to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1987 and incorporate its provisions into domestic Indian law.

Among others, he also sought a direction tonstates and union territories to establish a Human Rights Commission and Human Rights courts and ensure that all vacancies are filled promptly. He said that there should be time bound investigation in all the cases of custodial deaths and encounter killings.