Gujarat HC Condemns State Police For Failing To Prevent Public Flogging Of 5 Muslim Men

Gujarat HC

The Gujarat High Court has condemned the State Police for failing to protect the human rights of five Muslim men who were publicly flogged by officers in Kheda district in October 2022.
The statement of the indiscreet police officers, who unconditionally apologised to the bench and claimed on affidavit that they would uphold the Court’s order, was not well received by a division bench of Justice NV Anjaria and Justice Niral Mehta.
“We don’t want you to uphold majesty of the court that is always upheld. This is an irrelevant pleading. We want you to uphold majesty of article 21 (right to dignity),” Justice Anjaria stated.
The bench stated that it would not accept this evidence and the policemen’ pleas because they were irrelevant to the subject at hand.
In response, the counsel for one of the officers informed the bench that they had merely offered an unqualified apologies.
“Why? For brutally beating the accused (Muslim men)?” Judge Anjaria inquired.
“Humility beyond a certain point is questionable,” he continued.
“Why should the dignity of the court be maintained? In this case, you uphold and respect human rights. Respect DK Basu’s decision. That is what we desire,” the judge emphasised.
The issue was adjourned for further hearing until March 29 with an order to the counsel for the officers and the State to provide new affidavits.
“We are also not happy with the State affidavit. We had specifically said we will deal with custodial violence in this matter. But the affidavit filed only makes references to the timeline, Magisterial custody, production of accused etc. It does not refer to the facts pertaining to the beating incident,” the bench noted.
The division bench then urged the counsel to debate about ‘what is custodial violence, when does custody begin, what is police custody,’ and so on.
In 2022, five Muslim men were publicly flogged after they reportedly threw stones at a crowd at a Navratri ceremony in Undhela village, which was videotaped and published to social media by other police officers dressed in civil attire.
The petitioner, Jahirmiya Rehmumiya Malek who was one of those beaten up by the police and has filed a contempt of court proceedings against the negligent policeman.

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