Farmers protests: Court reprimands Punjab government on filing ‘zero-FIR’ for case of alleged police brutality

The Punjab and Haryana High Courts have questioned the Punjab government on Zero FIR being filed despite a clear statement by the victim.
Image: Live Law

In recent news, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab government why they filed a Zero FIR when a farmer has clearly said he was taken from Punjab to Haryana and then beaten severely.

During the hearing, the police officials have also stated that the zero FIR was registered without looking at the medical reports of the victim as they were not available to them.

The protesting farmer, Preet Pal Singh, was reportedly ‘taken’ from the Haryana border on February 21 when he was distributing food ‘langar’, at the protest after which he was reportedly beaten brutally. His father, Davinder Singh, had filed a habeas corpus and on February 28, the Punjab and Haryana High Court addressed concerns about Preetpal Singh and expressed their dissatisfaction with the unclear details of Singh’s case at PGIMS Rohtak. In his petition, Singh claimed that his son was taken by Haryana Police while peacefully protesting on land in Punjab. The court had instructed PGI Chandigarh to form a medical board to assess Preetpal Singh’s injuries as he remained hospitalised at the time. His father has claimed to the court that his son was a part of the peaceful farmers protests.

On March 14, Preet Pal Singh himself had also confirmed this account as well as the fact that he was picked up from territory in Punjab in front of the magistrate. He stated that 8-10 police officials from Haryana had dragged him, stuffed him in a bag, and beaten him.

The courts have taken up Punjab police and asked it to state the reason why a zero FIR was registered on April 2 when the police had the statement of Preetpal Singh specifying from where he was picked up. A police official may register a complaint under the zero FIR if the incident took place under the jurisdiction of another police station.

According to The Tribune, Justice Manuja stated, “Once the officer concerned, while registering the FIR was of the view that cognizable offence is made out based on the statement of injured, as to why Zero FIR has been registered regarding the incident, especially when the injured specifically alleges in his statement dated March 14 that he was picked up from the territory of Punjab and taken to the territory of Haryana, where he was beaten up mercilessly?” The court has asked the police to give its response by April 9.

At least 10 farmers have thus far died in the farmers protests which began with a ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on February 13. One of the deceased, a young farmer named Shubh Karan Singh, was reportedly shot in the head by the police on February 21 at the Khanauri border. An autopsy detailed that he also had metal pellets in his head, according to the Hindustan Times. Farmers in Punjab have alleged inaction against his death.

The police has been criticised by deploying heavy use of force to quell the farmers’ protests. The police have used tear gas, water cannons against the protesting farmers. The farmers have been demanding the government to provide a minimum support price for crops.



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