By LE Desk

Hyderabad, June 24, 2021: The Telangana High Court today ordered a judicial inquiry into the alleged custodial death of a Dalit woman, Mariamma, in Rachakonda police commissionerate jurisdiction.

Hearing a PIL plea over the woman’s death, a Bench of Justices M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Vinod Kumar instructed the Judicial First Class Magistrate of Aler to inquire into Mariamma’s ‘custodial death’. The Bench said that the magistrate, if necessary, should secure the woman’s body which was handed over to her family members and get a second autopsy performed, reported The Hindu.

This can be done under sub-section (1) of Section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code. The second post-mortem examination should be done as early as possible, the Bench said. Report of the second autopsy should be presented to the HC in a sealed cover. The HC Registry was directed to inform this to Aler Magistrate immediately.

The Bench said the magistrate would issue a notice to the victim’s family members and complete the judicial inquiry within a week. The inquiry report should be furnished to the HC in a sealed cover.

Advocate General B.S. Prasad told the Bench that the National Human Rights Commission’s guidelines were followed in toto in the case. The victim’s body was handed over to her daughter. Police constables connected to the alleged custodial death were already suspended. An enquiry was initiated against them. Meanwhile, an officer of the rank of Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) was instructed to conduct an inquiry into the death, reported the Hindu.

The Bench sought to know how an inquiry by an executive authority would suffice in the serious case when the law mandated a judicial inquiry. The PIL plea was filed by People’s Union of Civil Liberties general secretary Jaya Vindhyala. She stated that Mariamma died of police brutality on June 18. The matter was posted to June 28 for next hearing.

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