New Delhi: Opining that murder by the
police in their custody is "rarest of rare crime entailing
death sentence”, the Supreme Court has said it would have
considered awarding capital punishment to some Tamil Nadu
policemen for beating to death a suspected thief and
subjecting his wife to gang-rape in their custody in 1992.
"Murder by policemen in police custody is in our opinion
in the category of rarest of rare cases deserving death
sentence," said a bench of justices Markandey Katju and
Gyan Sudha Misra while dismissing a joint appeal by some
former Tamil Nadu policemen challenging their convictions in
case of judicial violence.
"If ever there was a case which cried out for death
penalty, it is this one. But it is deeply regrettable that not
only was no such penalty imposed but not even a charge under
Section 302 (murder) under Indian Penal Code framed against
the accused by the courts below," said the bench after noting
"horrendous facts" of the case.
The case involved custodial violence against suspected
thief Nandggopal by over half a dozen policemen and officials
of Annamalinagar police station in Chennai from May 30 to June
2, 1992, leading to his death.
While holding Nandgopal in their custody, the policemen
had subjected his wife to repeated gang-rape right before him
with some women police personnel of the police station turning
a blind eye to the deeds of their male colleagues.