Image Courtesy: livelaw.in
The Gujarat government has found 5 police personnel including a police inspector, prima facie guilty in flogging some persons accused of stone pelting at a garba event in Kheda, in October last year, reported LiveLaw.
A plea was filed by a Muslim family seeking contempt action against these policemen for beating up the accused in full public view and also recording the same and circulating it on social media.
In the plea, it was alleged that the policemen had flouted the guidelines and directions issued by the Supreme Court in the case of D.K. Basu V/s. State of West Bengal [(1997) 1 SCC 416] whereby the court had issued guidelines to check abuse of powers by the police. Detailed analysis of DK Basu judgement may be read here.
Government pleader Mitesh Amin informed the court that in an inquiry ordered by the IG, the 5 policemen were found prima facie guilty. The court pointed out that the inquiry ordered by the Magistrate has still not been completed even after 4 months and directed that the same be completed. The court has also asked for papers related to the investigation to show if contempt is made out against them.
When the government pleader argued that the accused stone pelters had pre-planned to disrupt the garba event, the court refused to delve into “peripheral issues” while dealing with contempt proceedings.
The court has posted the matter for February 21.
The illegal police action was after a communal clash in Undhela village in Kheda, Gujarat. Some persons had allegedly pelted stones at a garba event. One of the petitioners, Maksuda banu, a senior citizen, alleged that the Police entered her house at night in the absence of a woman constable, beat her up, and put her and her family members in illegal detention at the Police station, reported Livelaw.
In such a case, primarily the following sections of IPC would get attracted: sections 166 [Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person]; 220 [Commitment for trial or confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law]; 330 [Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property] and 331 [Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property]. Further, section 55A [Health and safety of arrested person.—It shall be the duty of the person having the custody of an accused to take reasonable care of the health and safety of the accused] of CrPC also stands violated.
The police then brought the accused back to the village and tied them to the pole and beat them up brutally.
Related to this incident, News18 India had aired a show called “Desh Nahin Jhukne Denge Aman Chopra के साथ” on October 4, 2022 whereby the host Aman Chopra was seen cheering the Gujarat Police for beating the men publicly. The host started the show saying, “Aapko Gujarat Police ka Dandiya dikhate hai (We will show you Dandiya played by Gujarat Police)”. Then he cheered them more as the beatings continued and the victims, visibly pained and begging for mercy saying, “please forgive us”. The host then goes on repeatedly, “Gujarat Police ne unnke saath dandiya khela (Gujarat Police played dandiya with them)” and “Gujarat police ne unka ilaaj kia (Gujarat police cured them)”.
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against the channel for this act and more of a divisive narrative throughout the show.