Custodial deaths: a retrospective study in Mumbai region

AUTHORS : Jawale SM, Bhise SS, Wagh RR
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Introduction: The word custody implies guardianship andprotective care. Even when applied to indicate arrest orincarceration, it does not carry any sinister symptoms ofviolence during custody. Preventing torture in custody andensuring strict compliance of its guidelines in custodialdeaths is one of the important agendas on the NHRC’s list.Sudden and unexpected death in custody is commonlyassociated with allegations of torture against law enforcementagencies. Aims: This study is done to find out the commonestcause of death in custodial death in Mumbai region and itsrelation to age, sex, manner of death, hospital stay andtime interval between death and post-mortem. Materialsand methods: This study was carried out retrospectively atSir JJ Hospital in Mumbai region. 95%, males and 5%females who were died in custody were studied retrospectivelyfor one year and data was analysed using SPSS. Results:in this study 95% were males and 5% were females. A mostcommon cause of death is Pulmonary Tuberculosis (42%),followed by hanging seen in 11.6% cases. The natural causewas in 79% case and un-natural in 21% cases. Conclusion:The majority of deaths in custody are due to natural causes,improper medical facilities could be an important aggravatingfactor. Providing healthcare facilities, equivalent to thatavailable in the community is one of the most importantremedial measures.

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