The Chief Secretary of Maharashtra was summoned

NEW DELHI Feb 26: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today welcomed the latest

order of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directing the Chief

Secretary of Maharashtrhaa to appear personally at 3 pm on 13 March 2013

before the NHRC with respect to the complaint filed by ACHR pertaining to

the custodial death of Ms Swapna Salvi during

summons. The NHRC in its order

(( stated:

“Conditional summons were sent in the name of Chief Secretary, Govt. of

Maharashtra, Mumbai to remain personally present before the Commission on

7-2-2013 at 3.00 P.M. along with the requisite report. His personal

appearance was to be dispensed with in case the report was received by the

Commission on or before 31-1-2013. Neither the report has been received,

nor Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra, Mumbai has appeared in

person.Let summons be issued in the name of Chief Secretary, Govt. of

Maharashtra, Mumbai to remain personally present before the Commission on

13.03.2013 at 3.00 PM along with the requisite report.”

“This is a clear contempt of the NHRC and a fit case for summoning the

Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. The conduct of the Chief Secretary of

Maharashtra shows the lack of any concern for protection of women even if

death takes places in the custody of the State.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma,

Director of ACHR.

In its submission to the Justice Verma Committee on 26th December 2012,

Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that at least 45 custodial rapes took

place between 2002 and 2010 as per complaints registered by the NHRC. The

law enforcement personnel enjoy virtual impunity as no legal proceedings

or suit can be initiated without the prior sanction of the concerned

Government as per Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code or Section 6

of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and prior sanction is seldom



The deceased, Ms. Swapna Salvi, a resident of Gujarat, was arrested by the

Ahmedabad police on 30 March 2010 in connection with a cheating case. On

31 March 2010, Ms Salvi was handed over to the Mumbai Police who produced

her before the court that remanded her to police custody till 5 April

2010. The deceased was detained at the Goregaon East Police Station.

However, on 2 April 2010, the deceased was found hanging from the ceiling

fan in the ladies room of the police station.

The police claimed that the deceased committed suicide by using her

duppatta when a female constable keeping an eye on her went outside the

room. Further, the police claimed that the deceased had confided with the

female constable that she was aghast at being arrested and was nervous

about facing her family.

ACHR filed a complaint

( with the NHRC on 5

April 2010. Among others, it requested the NHRC to direct the state

government of Maharashtra to order a judicial inquiry into the custodial

death; submit the post-mortem report of the deceased; to take legal action

against any personnel found involve in the custodial death including

suspension of the Officer-in-Charge of the Goregaon East Police Station

and interim compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the next of kin of the

deceased. However, the State Government of Maharashtra has not been

cooperating with the NHRC.(SP News)


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