How Brazen And Insensitive Can The State Be? Madras HC Slams State For Registering Hundreds Of FIRs Against Particular Individuals In Connection With Anti-Sterlite Protests At Thoothukudi [Read Order]

How Brazen And Insensitive Can The State Be? Madras HC Slams State For Registering Hundreds Of FIRs Against Particular Individuals In Connection With Anti-Sterlite Protests At Thoothukudi [Read Order]

‘Is this a message to the protestors of Thoothukudi - 'Don't you dare'? How brazen and insensitive can the State be? Is the State oblivious or uncaring of the position that by conducting itself in the manner informed, it is putting every person, even if he has played an ever so small part in the protests in fear of the midnight knock and arrest?’

Criticising the state police for registering multiple FIRs against individuals in connection with anti-Sterlite protests, the Madras High Court has directed that all FIRs registered in connection with the happenings of 22nd May 2018 and related in any manner to the anti-Sterlite protests in and around Thoothukudi be treated as 161(3) CrPC statements in Crime No.191 of 2018.

A division bench of Justice CT Selvam and Justice AM Basheer Ahmed was considering PILs filed by two persons contending that the police have resorted to filing of multiple FIRs which caused great prejudice not only to the accused but also caused great fear in the minds of local residents.

In a particular case, an accused has been named in as many 100 cases and in another in 85 cases. Persons facing such position are numerous. Local residents, having suffered very painful loss of their loved ones, are being denied even the right to grieve and mourn their loss by being put in constant fear of the police midnight knock,” they submitted before the court.

FIRs were registered in Crime No.191 of 2018 on the file of SIPCOT Police Station for offences under Sections 147, 148, 188, 324, 332, 353, 448, 450, 307, 436, 506(ii) I.P.C. and Sections 3(1) and 4 of Tamil Nadu Property (Prevention of Damage & Loss) Act, 1992, Section 3 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and Section 174 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 related to the entire happenings in and around Tuticorin on 22.05.2018 and on which date as many as 13 persons lost their lives owing to police shooting.

The bench remarked: “A hundred F.I.Rs, eighty-five F.I.Rs. against particular individuals? Is one to obtain bail in one case only to be told that he is detained in another? Is this a message to the protestors of Thoothukudi - 'Don't you dare'? How brazen and insensitive can the State be? Is the State oblivious or uncaring of the position that by conducting itself in the manner informed, it is putting every person, even if he has played an ever so small part in the protests in fear of the midnight knock and arrest? Are family members, who have lost their near and dear ones, constantly to fear their arrest or that of their loved ones? Is the State being oblivious or is it the intent? Given the sadness of the Thoothukudi incident of 22.05.2018 why is the State, when it should be looking for the balm that heals, be raising the police palm that threatens?”

The court observed that in sum total, the cases can only be seen as an abuse of statutory power.

Read the Order Here