Unwarranted police action in Bihar, Punjab serious: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of the “unwarranted” action of the police for attacking “an unarmed” woman in Punjab and contractual teachers in Patna, saying those incidents were “gross violation of human rights and constitutional rights” of the people. 

Observing that both incidents had “shocked the conscience of the entire nation”, a bench of justices G S Singhvi and Ranjana Prakash Desai asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court and appointed senior advocates Harish Salve and U U Lalit as amicus curiae in the matter.

The Punjab incident was also raised in the Rajya Sabha where members demanded dismissal of the policemen.

After going through newspaper reports, the court decided to hear the matter on March 11 and may seek explanation from both states for their “inaction”.

The court noted the reports which stated that Punjab Police had beaten up a Dalit woman after she along with her father wanted to lodge a report against truck drivers for allegedly harassing her on March 4.

It also referred to the incident involving baton charging by Bihar police on teachers protesting in Patna on Tuesday. “The xerox copies of the newspapers are taken on record. The contents of the news items revealed that members of the Punjab Police and Patna Police have mercilessly beaten an unarmed woman and teachers. Both the incidents have shocked the conscience of the entire nation.”

“Unfortunately, the administration of the governments of Punjab and Bihar have not taken adequate steps for protecting the people against the wholly unwarranted action taken by the police at Taran Taran and Patna. These incidents raise important constitutional issues relating to Article 21 of the Constitution and dignity of individual,” the bench said.

In the Rajya Sabha, the majority of members joined a Congress MP in seeking action against Punjab policemen.

Deputy Chairman P J Kuriensaid: “The whole House is one with this demand. All are associating.”

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