SC raps police forces over treatment of women

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday said that it would take a very serious view of another incident of police violence against a woman, and the person involved would have to bear the wrath of the court.

Referring to the rising frequency of incidents of brutality against women, and even children, the court said the framers of the constitution did not visualize such incidents or provide for provisions to deal with them.

“We make it very very serious if any such incident happens then the person (involved) will have it. The court will go beyond its norms to deal with them,” a bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde warned.

Pointing to the police personnel involved in the beating of women in Delhi, Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the court said: “If Mahatma Gandhi were to be born today, he would have died many times.”

Referring to the merciless beating of a 65-year-old woman in Aligarh, Justice Singhvi said that the “expression on the face” of a deputy superintendent of police was such as if “he will kill her. Recalling the shocking incident, Justice Singhvi said that with “stick in one hand”, the police officer was “pushing the her and the lady fell like a doll.”

“It is amazing. There is no word in dictionary to describe it”, the court said directing the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to file an affidavit on the incident.

Referred to the example of Lal Bahadur Shastri, who, when the railway minister, resigned after an accident, Justice Singhvi told the counsel for Uttar Pradesh government: “Is your government left with any shame. Even a mad animal would not do what your officers are doing. What is happening in this country. Are we mute spectators to everything?”

Noting the way police was behaving in recent times, the court said that it was an insult to entire women of the country.

The court’s scathing indictment of the behaviour of police personnel towards women came in the course of the hearing of the matter arising from its taking suo motu cognizance of the newspaper reports of two incidents of police excesses involving the beating of a women in Punjab’s Taran Taran district and the baton charge on agitating teachers outside Bihar assembly in Patna.

The bench directed the chief secretaries of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa to file affidavits whether they have set up state security commissions (SSCs) in pursuance to its 2006 direction for police reforms.

The court said the affidavits would accompany the details of the number of meetings that the SSC has held since its constitution and the minutes of these meetings.

It said it would also consider, at the next hearing, the question of chief justices of high courts monitoring the functioning of the SSCs as it was not possible for it to itself monitor their working.

The court made it clear that states will have to follow one of the three models suggested by the apex court and there could be no mixture of three models.

The court directed that all the states which have enacted laws providing for police reforms after its 2006 direction will provide a copy of the same to the amicus curiae Harish Salve, who had said that that he wanted to challenge the validity of these laws under Article 32 of the Constitution.

The court also directed the Delhi Police commissioner to file an affidavit explaining the incident involving a police officer beating a woman protesting the rape of a child.

As the counsel for Delhi government S. Wasim Ahmed Qadri sought to explain the action taken against the officer involved in the slapping of a woman activist protesting against rape of a child, the court told him not to tell what action they have taken but what they were doing to prevent such incidents.

Justice Singhvi told Qadri: “Your police has gone berserk. …How can a police officer beat a young and she bleeds from ear. What is the accountability of senior officers? What is their responsibility?”

Saying that “our comments are very sarcastic and we are sceptical, the court said: “We don’t know after this adjournment how many ladies and children will be beaten.”

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