Any progressive, democratic nation is expected to be sensitive to the complete eradication of custodial deaths, the Madras High Court said on Tuesday dismissing a bail plea moved by sub-inspector S Sridhar, one of the policemen accused in the Sathankulam custodial deaths case. .While passing the order, Justice SM Subramaniam also issued directions to the Director General of Police, Mylapore for publicising the rights of citizens while approaching the police and for the maintenance of CCTV cameras in police stations..Sridhar's bail application was dismissed citing the seriousness of the case against him and the possibility of him influencing other police officials if released. .The court added that in cases involving such heinous crimes, there cannot be any leniency or misplaced sympathy. .Directions issued to uphold rights, monitor Police functioning.Before closing the matter, the High Court issued the following directions to the DGP, Mylapore, who was suo motu impleaded in the matter:Issue consolidated instructions/ circulars regarding the rights of the common man approaching police stations and police officials and the services to be provided by the officials by treating citizens fairly and decently.Ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in all the police stations. Ensure CCTV cameras already installed are in working condition. The entire premises of the police stations are to be covered under CCTV cameras.Ensure that the rights of the complainants approaching police stations and police officials are boldly and legibly displayed in front of the police stations across the State of Tamil Nadu, both in English and Tamil languages.Ensure proper maintenance of CCTV cameras in all the police stations across the State of Tamil Nadu. Repairs, if any noticed, must be rectified by the Station House Officer, within a period of three days.Ensure that CCTV storages are sent to higher officials within a stipulated period and the said storages are preserved for the period to be stipulated by the Director-General of Police in the consolidated instructions.Intimate that violations of the instructions/guidelines by any officials would be viewed seriously and appropriate disciplinary actions will be initiated under the Discipline and Appeal Rules..Madras HC seeks State response in PIL for SOP to preserve CCTV footage in Police Stations as a measure to guard against Police excesses.Custodial deaths should be wiped out completely: Court.In his order, Justice Subramaniam made several observations on the need to act strongly against custodial deaths. ."There cannot be any second opinion, as the custodial death are to be wiped out completely and, if any complaints are received, investigation are to be conducted in a speedy manner and stringent actions are to be initiated both at departmental level and by prosecuting authorities," the order said..Prevention of custodial deaths is of paramount importance, the judge proceeded to emphasise. The court also observed that while procedures have been laid down on how to proceed in cases involving custodial deaths, "the mandate is not honoured by the authorities responsible and accountable.".Pertinently, the Judge also went on to remark that: ."The State of Tamil Nadu is reporting many number of custodial deaths in comparison with many other States across the country. It is a serious issue to be considered by the Director General of Police and urgent measures are required. Granting bail or declining bail in such sensitized cases would not provide any solution for the problem. The measures to be taken, corrections to be made, reformations and other wider implications are all of paramount importance to ensure so as to protect the rights of common man. ".The Court acknowledged that the Sathankulam case itself was sensitised due to wide media coverage. However, many such cases are not brought to limelight, the judge observed, adding that the families affected were still facing untold agonies. .People afraid even to enter Police Stations, black mark must be erased: Court.The judge voiced concerns that police continue to be viewed with fear by the common public. As noted in the order,"(The) Government of the day cannot deny the fact that many numbers of complaints are being received from the affected persons, which are all in public domain regarding the public services to be provided by not only the police officials, but also by other public officials from various Departments.".While police officers are expected to friends of the people, the High Court pointed out that,"In many areas, large number of people are still afraid even to enter into the Police Stations and people are having apprehension in their minds that such police officials may turnaround if they give a complaint and register cases against them. The fact regarding registration of false cases cannot be denied by the Police Department, in general. Many allegations of registration of false cases are brought to the notices of the Court also.".The judge opined that counter-measures must be taken to erase the "black mark affixed on the Police Department by the common man." .In this regard, the High Court remarked,"Registering of false cases in police station are to be completely erased. Serious actions are to be initiated against such erring officials by conducting inspections and enquiry. Intelligence Wing of the police department is to be pressed into service for the purpose of tracing out the registration of false cases in Police Stations. Of course, vigilance and Anti Corruption Department should also work hand in hand with Intelligence Wing.".Observing that public servants are being paid from taxpayer money and that efficient public administration is part of the Indian Constitution, Justice Subramaniam further observed:"The common man, who are all approaching the Police Stations or the Public Officers are to be treated decently and all required information must be made available to assist such persons.".With respect to policemen, he added:."... the Police Officials are vested with powers under various statute to detain and to initiate actions. Thus, utmost caution and good temperament is highly warranted. Integrity and honesty though virtues, it is a mandate as far as the uniformed services are concerned. Treating a common man decently and fairly in Police Stations is a basic requirement..."the High Court said. .The Sathankulam custodial deaths case involves allegations of police brutality, a mechanical remand by the judicial magistrate and inadequate medical treatment leading to the death of Jayaraj and Bennix while in police custody..The two were arrested on June 19 citing a violation of the COVID-19 curfew. A judicial inquiry into their deaths, under Section 176, CrPC, was ordered to be conducted by the Judicial Magistrate No. 1, Kovilpatti. The investigation was earlier being handled by the CB CID until the CBI took over the probe in July. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court is also monitoring the progress of the case.