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Custodial deaths up in Punjab
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

Year Deaths

2007

63

2006

80

2005

1

2004

2

New Delhi, February 9
There has been “huge dramatic” increase in the number of custodial deaths in Punjab, the Supreme Court was informed today.

Senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi told the Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan Punjab had filed affidavit, reporting 80 deaths in custody in 2006 and 63 in 2007.

Just one such incident had taken place in 2005 in the state and two in 2004, Singhvi, who is the amicus curiae (court adviser) in a PIL case, apprised the Bench, which also included Justice P Sathasivam. The state government had not taken action against those responsible for this, he said.

The state has merely given the number of deaths in custody and its details to other points relating to such cases is awaited. Of the 80 deaths in 2006, 73 were in judicial custody and seven in police custody. In 2007, 60 of the deaths were in judicial custody and three in police custody. Singhvi said only a few states had responded to the court notice, while many sought copy of the PIL filed by Dilip K Basu in 1986 against Bengal and other states.

Today, the CJI said all states should file response and the court would confine the issue to deaths in custody and related issues such as whether the relatives were being informed of such incidents.

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