21 March 2022 5:31 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has come down heavily on the police for being "swayed by the fact that the Petitioners belong to a particular community" while investigating activities of theft and other wrongs under Sections 328 and 394 of IPC has expressed dismay at the "apathy of the police officials, more particularly senior officers…" Justice Nikhil Kariel was hearing a...
The Gujarat High Court has come down heavily on the police for being "swayed by the fact that the Petitioners belong to a particular community" while investigating activities of theft and other wrongs under Sections 328 and 394 of IPC has expressed dismay at the "apathy of the police officials, more particularly senior officers…"
Justice Nikhil Kariel was hearing a special criminal application filed by the Petitioners involving "extreme excess" by the police authorities including senior officers of the level of DySP and SP who were responsible for conducting an impartial inquiry. The Bench noted that the victims, members of a certain community, were earning their living through honest occupation when an FIR was filed against two unknown males and unknown females. According to the inquiry conducted by Respondent No. 6, the Petitioners 1 and 2 (brothers) were passing on a motorbike and were intercepted by the police. When they did not stop, they slipped and were caught by the police. It was observed that the only evidence against the Petitioners was their own confession which was used for submitting the chargesheet. Subsequently, the charges against the Petitioners did not stand during trial.
Justice Kariel also observed that the Petitioners were cultivating cotton on certain land and the ornaments and money recovered from them were borne of their earnings and were not connected to the proceeds of the crime. Additionally, the IO had undertaken an Identification Parade with regard to another offence against the Petitioners. The certificates issued by the Medical Officer revealed that the Petitioners had sustained numerous injuries due to torture by police authorities. The Bench remarked:
"The report also reveals the probable reason for which the petitioners appear to have been apprehended in the first place and as referred to hereinabove, that would relate to the accident of the birth of the petitioners."
Taking note of the profiling of the Petitioners as lawbreakers, the High Court directed Respondent No. 4 ie, the Inspector General of Police, Ahmedabad Range to conduct an inquiry into the cause of arrest of the Petitioners and their implication in "undetected offences" and submit a "very clear report" as to whether any excess was committed by the police officials. The Bench averred that the final report be submitted to the Court by way of an affidavit and that stringent action be taken against the officials. Prima facie, the Bench opined, the Petitioners had been falsely implicated in 5 FIRs basis 'wrong investigation" and therefore, an Officer not below the rank of Deputy Secretary of Home Department were responsible for explaining why the Petitioners were not entitled to exemplary compensation vide an affidavit.
Accordingly, the Bench listed the matter for 12th April 2022 for filing of such affidavits.
Case Title: Mansukhbhai Valjibhai Kumarkhaniya (Devipujak) & 3 Other(S) Versus State Of Gujarat & 5 Other(S)
Case No.: R/SCR.A/2249/2015
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