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Muslim men tied to pole and beaten: SC pulls up Guj police officers

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Muslim men tied to pole and beaten: SC pulls up Guj police officers
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New Delhi: In a case of Gujarat Police tying Muslim men to a pole and flogging them publically, the Supreme Court rebuked the accused police officers and questioned their authority to tie people to poles and beat them up, PTI reported.

In the case, the Gujarat High Court had sentenced the accused four police officers to 14-day simple imprisonment. The court had found the four, identified as inspector AV Parmar, sub-inspector DB Kumavat, head constable KL Dabhi and constable RR Dabhi, guilty of contempt of court as they violated Supreme Court's guidelines about detaining and interrogating suspects. On Tuesday, a Supreme Court bench of BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta was hearing the officers' appeal against the high court sentence.

"(Do) you have an authority under law to tie people to a pole and beat them? Go and enjoy the custody," a furious Justice Gavai said during the hearing.

Severely reprimanding the officials, Justice Mehta said, "What kind of atrocities are these? Tying the people to a pole, beating them in public view and taking videos. Then you want this court to intervene." Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for the officials, said they were already facing criminal prosecution, departmental proceedings and an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

"The question here is the high court's jurisdiction to proceed against them in contempt proceedings," Dave said, adding no offence of wilful disobedience was made out against them in terms of the Supreme Court's 1996 verdict in the DK Basu case where it had issued guidelines for making arrest, and detention and interrogation of suspects.

He submitted the question right now, which was not about the culpability of these officials but the contempt jurisdiction of the high court.

Justice Gavai castigated the officials, saying derisively, "Go and enjoy the custody. You will be a guest of your own officers. They will provide you special treatment." Dave persisted with his prayer for stay and said even the high court had stayed the operation of its order by three months.

Justice Gavai acceeded to his request and ordered a stay on the sentence.

On October 19, 2023, the high court, while holding the four policemen guilty of contempt of court, ordered them to spend 14 days in jail as punishment.

Five Muslims were allegedly beaten up with batons by the accused policemen, who tied them to a pole. The five were among the 13 people picked up for their alleged involvement in throwing stones at a garba event in Undhela village of Kheda district during the Navratri festival in October 2022. Some villagers and police personnel were reportedly injured.

Later, the five accused, including the main complainant, Jahirmiya Malek, had approached the high court claiming police officials committed contempt of court by flouting the Supreme Court's guidelines.

Initially, a total of 13 policemen were named as accused in the case. However, a Chief Judicial Magistrate report specified the role of only four of them after an inquiry.

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TAGS:Supreme CourtMuslimspolicebeaten
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