The Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Sunday expressed his concerns over the increasing cases of custodial torture and police atrocities in the country and said that the threat to human rights and bodily integrity is the highest at the police stations despite Constitutional declarations and guarantees.
Mr Ramana, while addressing an event organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), said: “The threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in the police station. Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems that still prevail in our society. In spite of Constitutional declarations and guarantees, lack of effective legal representation at the police stations is a huge detriment to arrested or detained person.”
Bodily integrity is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of the personal autonomy of human beings over their own bodies.
“To keep police excesses in check, dissemination of information about the Constitutional right to legal aid and availability of free legal aid services is necessary. The installation of display boards and outdoor hoardings in every police station or prison is a step in this direction,” he said.
Mr Ramana at the occasion unveiled a legal aid services app and said, “Legal aid services app, which is being unveiled today, will be compulsorily installed in mobile phones of the entire legal workforce of legal services and institutions. This will allow them to submit a legal aid application in few seconds from any place in the country.”
“Despite the COVID pandemic, we have successfully been able to continue our legal aid services. The introduction of such technological tools have ensured that any such future challenges shall not hamper the work of the legal aid institutions,” he added.