Bombay HC seeks inquiry details related to Asghar Ali’s suicide after custodial torture

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought all inquiry documents related to the custodial suicide of a prisoner, Asghar Ali Mansoori. The court made the decision after it came to know that Ali’s family was not informed if a mandatory inquiry has been initiated in the matter.

A note allegedly blaming prison officials of severe torture was found neatly wrapped in plastic inside the life convict, Asghar Ali Mansuri’s stomach during his post mortem. He was found hanging on October 7, 2020 inside the punishment cell of the prison – meant for convicts who were segregated due their alleged behaviour.

A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale were hearing a petition filed by Mansoori’s father Mumtaz Mohammed Mansuri and People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) seeking setting up of an independent committee to investigate into the circumstances in which the man died as well as registration of an FIR against prison officials named in the suicide note.

Additional Public Prosecutor JP Yagnik submitted that he had taken instructions and learned that a mandatory judicial inquiry under section 176(1A) of the Criminal Procedure Code had been initiated. He further said that the Human Rights Commission has also initiated an inquiry into the incident.

Justice Manish Pitale then sought to know if the inquires were completed. When informed of the passage of three months since the incident, the judge observed, ”This is enough time for them to complete the inquiry.”

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for the petitioners, said that if an inquiry was underway, Asghar’s family wanted to be given the details relating to it. Justice Pitale too said that this should be the case, and ”ideally the father should have been involved [in the inquiry]”.

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