The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court while appreciating the efforts of the police for ensuring proper observation of lockdown norms by the general public, has also chided them for being overzealous in their duty and has asked the commissioner of police to rein in such officers. The observations were prompted in a PIL which complained of police subjecting senior citizens and known personalities to humiliation by making photographs of these persons holding placards saying they are violators of lockdown, viral. The PIL prays for curbing of such high handedness of the police.
A single bench of justice Rohit Deo while hearing public interest litigation through video conferencing filed by Sandip Nair was informed that in anxiety to strictly enforce the lockdown directives issued to combat the Covid Virus, certain personnel of the police force are guilty of gross violation of human rights. Advocate Anil Kamble submitted instances of senior citizens on morning walks, being subjected to inhuman indignities by the police in the form of alleged violators being photographed holding placards declaring that there are enemies of the nation, the society, the family and humanity as they are breaking the law.
This Kamble submitted was published in prominent newspapers and have gone viral on social media. He said that making a humiliating spectacle of the violators is a serious infringement of human rights and the constitutional right guaranteed under Article 21 and hence sought directions to curb such high handedness of the police.
The additional government pleader K S Joshi admitted that while some instances were true, others were uncorroborated and sought time to confirm whether the photographs were taken by the police.
After hearing the submissions the court observed, “The police personnel who have indulged in a blatant violation of human dignity were expected to be alive to our society being a civilized society governed by the rule of law. While extraordinary situations may call for extraordinary measures, the measures must have the sanction of law. Human dignity and rights cannot be sacrificed at the altar of extraordinary situations nor can the constitutional right to a dignified life be hostage to supposed intentions. This Court would request the Police Commissioner to sensitise the personnel under his command to ensure that such sordid incidents do not occur.” The matter has been posted for hearing after May 21.