Human rights group picks on Bassi's comment on 'shooting rapists'

Human rights group picks on Bassi's comment on 'shooting rapists'

Taking exception to the comments of Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi where he had expressed his willingness to ‘shoot’ a rapist if the Constitution allows him, Commonwealth Human Rights Intiative (CHRI), an international non-governmental organisation, working to ensure the realisation of human rights, on Wednesday expressed their strong disagreement with the Delhi Police chief’s statement.

“The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is deeply perturbed by the comments of the Delhi Police Commissioner in which he said, at the police’s annual press conference on 4 December 2016, that Delhi Police personnel would “shoot or hang” perpetrators of crimes against women on the spot, if the Constitution of India allowed this,’’ said Aditi Datta, Senior Programme Officer, Police Reforms Programme CHRI.

Terming the views of the Police chief as ‘disturbing’, Datta said that the leadership of one of the largest police forces in the world appears to endorse tactics akin to extrajudicial killings that by-pass due process. 

“Innocence until proven guilty continues to be a cardinal legal principle of our law that clearly demarcates the functions of the police and judiciary. Nowhere is it the function of the police to judge and punish, but only to bring suspects fairly before the courts. The Delhi Police’s own motto “Shanti, Nyay and Seva” meaning Peace, Justice and Service reminds the force of this duty,’’ Datta added.

In a press release issued by the organisation in the wake of the Delhi Police chief’s statement, three points were put forth to remind the police of their duties.

It said police must provide safety and security to people only by upholding the law, and by no other means, whatever their personal views.

Police must remain impartial even if there is a growing tide of public opinion clamoring for mob justice, it added.

Police leadership must at every turn reinforce Constitutional principles in day to day policing, it said.

Addressing the Delhi Police’s annual press conference in the national capital on Monday, Bassi had said, “If the Indian Constitution allows the hanging and shooting of the accused (perpetrators of crime against women), Delhi Police with full authority will do it on the spot.”