Plea for guidelines to stop police 'atrocity' dismissed

SC dismisses plea for guidelines to check police 'brutality'

Representative image

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea to restrain police personnel for beating up the general public who ventured out during the lockdown.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai said that the police authorities are working hard to implement the lockdown order and without the cooperation of the citizens, they would not be successful. 

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

The court also said that the citizens must follow the norms of social distancing and stay indoors for the benefit of their family and community. 

A Public Interest Litigation, by Amit Goyal, a practising advocate from Guwahati, argued that lack of clear guidelines in public movement during the lockdown has led to uncertainty and chaos in certain areas. 

Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths

The police are also not aware of the exemptions granted against movement of the public, he said. 

Goyal asked the court to issue directions to the Union government to formulate guidelines to regulate the movement of the public.

Listen | Pandemic Podcast: Weight of the lockdown on the unorganised sector

A similar PIL by Vishal Tiwari, also practising advocate, sought directions to the Union and state governments for registering FIR under Section 302, 304 part II, 323, 325, 341 of IPC against police officers for indulging in brutalities during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the contrary, submitted that relevant guidelines are already issued in the public domain and the authorities have been updated about it. 

The court, however, said in the present circumstances, it would not be appropriate to pass general order or directions as the appropriate authorities have already taken cognizance of the matter.

Dismissing the petitions, the bench further said if any specific instances of police excesses were found, it can be brought to the notice of the appropriate court.

The petitioner, in his support, cited various instances in states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana concerning police brutalities committed during the lockdown.

After hearing the counsels on behalf of both parties, the bench observed that such instances have already been taken cognizance of by the High Courts concerned and the Human Right Commissions.