New Delhi: The highest number of custodial deaths were reported in Maharashtra followed by Gujarat and Bihar this year, said Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on Tuesday in a reply to a question on custodial deaths.
Replying to a question on custodial deaths in the Parliament, the Minister said that as per the information received from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Maharashtra reported 26 custodial deaths, followed by Gujarat which registered 21 deaths and Bihar that registered 18 deaths this year till November 15.
"As per information received from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the details of cases registered in respect of deaths in police custody during the year 2021 up to November 15, Maharashtra reported 26 such deaths followed by 21 deaths in Gujarat and 18 deaths in Bihar. In Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, 11 deaths were reported. Delhi reported zero custodial deaths," he said.
Rai further said that it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure the non-occurrence of police atrocities and the protection of the human rights of the citizens.
"As per the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India, Police and Public order are State subjects. It is primarily the responsibility of the State Government concerned to appropriately prevent and ensure non-occurrence of police atrocities and protect the human rights of the citizens," he said.
The minister said that the Central government does not intervene directly in the matters of custodial deaths as it involves the State Police and jail authorities which also falls within the jurisdiction of the State Governments.
"Custodial deaths/violations involve the State Police and jail authorities which also falls within the jurisdiction of the State Governments. Given this, the Central government does not intervene directly in the matters of custodial deaths. The Central Government has issued advisories, and the NHRC has issued guidelines and recommendations to be followed by the States/UTs in all cases of custodial deaths," he said.
"In addition, workshops/seminars are also organized by NHRC from time to time to sensitize officers in State Governments for better protection of human rights and particularly the protection of rights of persons in custody," he added.