Starting October 3, The Morung Express is publishing a series, “101 Things You Wanted To Ask About the Police but Were Too Afraid To Ask,*” an easy guidebook published by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on knowing the police better. The questions 92-95 in the series are given below:
What is an inspection memo?
It is a short description of your physical condition when you were taken into custody. It is expected to record your general physical condition and note major and minor injuries. Again, it has to be signed by you and the arresting officer and a copy is given to you. But the difference between this memo and the memo of arrest is that you have to request it. If you do not request it, then it need not be done. This procedure is meant to ensure that there is no beating or torture in custody.
But it is not clear who has to examine you. If the arresting officer himself is examining you there is little protection that a piece of paper can give. However, since an approved doctor’s certificate also has to be given to the magistrate with all the other papers at the first appearance, a doctor must examine you and make a statement about your physical condition before you are first produced before a magistrate.
How am I supposed to know all this?
By law, at the time of arrest the police are supposed to inform you of all your rights. In addition, the guidelines mentioned above, which are sometimes called the D K Basu guidelines after the Supreme Court case that shaped them, have to be displayed on boards in all police stations, chowkis and thanas.
Can police officer beat me in custody?
No. S/he cannot beat you, slap you, threaten or intimidate you in custody. It is against the law and the police officer can be punished for it.
Can the police officer force me to make a confession?
No. The police officer has a right to question you but he cannot force you to say anything you have no information about or to confess to some crime that you have not committed. In any case, a confession made to a police officer will not be admissible in court.
(To be contd…)
Source: *Written by Navaz Kotwal and Maja Daruwal, the contents of the book are reproduced here with permission.
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