Kerala High Court Judge, Justice Devan Ramachandran has written to the Director General Of Police Loknath Behra to direct the officers not to use force against the violators of lockdown unless it is absolutely essential.
"There are clips being circulated in social media of police officers beating up persons who deliberately violate the lockdown. Don't know if any of them are from Kerala. But, I must request you to direct all officers not to do so at any cost, unless it is absolutely essential to use force and even then, only to the extent necessary".
He also suggested to direct the police to maintain 'Social distancing protocol' while interacting with general public, during the lock –down period.
According to John Hopkins school of medicine- 'Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness'.
In the wake of the covid -19 pandemic , the State of Kerala had imposed a complete lock down from 23/03/2020.All services in the State other than 'notified essential services' has been suspended.Public are specifically restrained and advised to remain indoors during such period, with limited access to certain eligible and essential services from 07:00 am to 05:00 pm.The Kerala Government had also recently promulgated 'Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020' with objective "to unify and consolidate the laws relating to the regulation and prevention of epidemic diseases".You may refer Live Law story here.
In the communication the judge while showering encomiums on the stupendous and dedicated service of police force during the COVID-19 crisis, had also urged and called upon them to maintain a 'Social distancing protocol' while dealing with public, so that the safety and health of such officers are not jeopardized.
Read The Letter Here
In times like these, next to nurses, doctors and health professionals — who are our real heroes— citizens rely on police officers.
Your force is doing a commendable job and their commitment and resolve is certainly at its zenith now.
But, in all this, the safety and health of the officers cannot be jeopardised.
I saw a few pictures forwarded to me by others, where police officers on duty on roads and streets are standing too close to each other and are talking to pedestrians and motorists, standing very near to them. Some police officers are also seen touching and pushing a few unreasonably obstinate people.
Even when we citizens fully appreciate the pressure that these officers are going through, their safety has to be made non-negotiable.
Please, therefore, instruct your officers on duty to maintain at least a couple of meters from each other as also to maintain such distance from motorists and pedestrians. Please ask them not to touch a person unless it is absolutely essential and necessary.
On more thing, there are clips being circulated in social media of police officers beating up persons who deliberately violate the lockdown. Don't know if any of them are from Kerala. But, I must request you to direct all officers not to do so at any cost, unless it is absolutely essential to use force and even then, only to the extent necessary.
With regards and wishing you and your officers all the best,
(Justice Devan Ramachandran)