SC asks states to file reports on police reforms

The “merciless” beating up of a woman in Punjab and baton charging on contractual teachers in Bihar by the police agitated the Supreme Court on Monday to seek response from all state governments on the implementation of its 2006 directives on police reforms.

Describing both incidents as “animal behaviour,” a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Kurian Joseph gave seven days to the directors-general of police of Punjab and Bihar to explain the action taken against the policemen.

“The DGP Punjab (is) to file his own affidavit detailing the action taken against policemen for beating unarmed woman who complained against harassment. The DGP Bihar (would) explain the rationale of beating up contractual teachers and use of unusual force against them,” the bench said.

The apex court was hearing the matter after having taken suo motu cognizance of “wholly unwarranted” action of police recently in beating “an unarmed” woman in Taran Taran district in Punjab and contractual teachers in Patna, saying those incidents were “gross violation of human rights and constitutional rights” of the people. 

The court acted on March 6 on the news reports stating that the 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 March 5.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who appeared to assist the court, referred to the Prakash Singh case judgment of the apex court passed in 2006. He submitted that there is “systemic failure” and accountability had to be fixed following such incidents.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing as amicus curiae, sought action against those officers having supervisory role. He submitted that torts must be imposed on those public servants.

 He said that incidents reminded one of (British) “Raj” days.
Juvenile Justice Act  

In another case, the Supreme Court on Monday sought an answer from the Jammu and Kashmir government on the PIL contending that the state had not fully implemented the Juvenile Justice Act, leading to minors being treated on a par with adults in criminal prosecution.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice R M Lodha issued notice to the state police chief seeking his response within four weeks of the plea, made by a minor who was booked on the charge of stone throwing in August last year.

The minor has sought Rs 10 lakh as compensation for detaining him in a police lock-up for about 40 hours in Srinagar.

Senior advocate Bhim Singh pointed out that there was no proper implementation of the special Act in the state.

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