SC Quotes Spider-man, Jails 9 Maharashtra Cops for 7 Years in Custodial Killings Case
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana began the judgement by underscoring : "With great power comes greater responsibility" - a quote attributed to Uncle Ben in Spider-man series.
A file photo of the Supreme Court. (PTI)
New Delhi: Making an appeal for the police force to demonstrate 'democratic policing' instead of resorting to extra-judicial methods, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced nine former Maharashtra policemen to seven years in jail each in a 1993-custodial death case.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana began the judgement by underscoring : "With great power comes greater responsibility" - a quote attributed to Benjamin Parker, a character more commonly known as 'Uncle Ben' in the Spider-man series.
The bench enhanced the jail term of the former policemen from three years to seven years, which is the maximum sentence under the charge of voluntary causing hurt in order to extract confessional statements.
The High Court had in 2007 sentenced the nine accused to three years in jail each but the top court noted that the punishment was grossly insufficient and disproportional.
"As the police in this case are violators of law, who had the primary responsibility to protect and uphold law, thereby mandating the punishment for such violation to be proportionately stringent so as to have effective deterrent effect and instill confidence in the society," held the Court.
Such incidents, the bench said, usually tend to deplete the confidence in our criminal justice system much more than those incidents involving private individuals.
"Those, who are called upon to administer the criminal law, must bear in mind that they have a duty not merely to the individual accused before them, but also to the State and to the community at large," maintained the bench.
The apex court said that our police force need to develop and recognize the concept of ‘democratic policing’, wherein crime control is not the only end, but the means to achieve this order is also equally important.
The case dates back to June 1993 when a police team, comprising an assistant police inspector, a sub-inspector and constables had picked up one Joinus in connection with robbery cases.
According to the prosecution, he was picked up from Deolapar's town in Nagpur and was tortured so as to extract confession.
Since he died die to asphyxiation and the medical report did not establish that assault was the cause of the death of Joinus, the policemen were acquitted of culpable homicide charge and were convicted rather for voluntary hurt.
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