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"Harassment Of Common Man By Public Authorities Socially Abhorring": Allahabad HC Orders Fair Probe In Ex-Army Man Torture Case

Sparsh Upadhyay
1 Oct 2021 1:38 PM GMT
Harassment Of Common Man By Public Authorities Socially Abhorring: Allahabad HC Orders Fair Probe In Ex-Army Man Torture Case
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The Allahabad High Court today ordered a fair investigation, immediate action in the case of an ex-soldier of the Indian Army, who had alleged that he was humiliated and brutally tortured by the Uttar Pradesh Police in May this year.He was allegedly forcefully taken to a Police Station, where he was disrobed and then tied up on a cot and brutally beaten up by the police officials for...

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The Allahabad High Court today ordered a fair investigation, immediate action in the case of an ex-soldier of the Indian Army, who had alleged that he was humiliated and brutally tortured by the Uttar Pradesh Police in May this year.

He was allegedly forcefully taken to a Police Station, where he was disrobed and then tied up on a cot and brutally beaten up by the police officials for two continuous hours using "Dandas".

"Sorry State Of Affairs & Police Atrocities": Allahabad HC Seeks DGP's Personal Affidavit On Alleged Attack On Ex-Army Man By UP Police

The Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Piyush Agrawal underscored that the harassment of a common man by public authorities is socially abhorring and legally impermissible and that it may harm him personally but the injury to society is far more grievous.

Importantly, stressing that an ordinary citizen, instead of complaining and fighting might of the State or its instrumentalities, succumbs to the pressure of undesirable functioning in offices instead of standing against it, the Court also observed thus:

"An ordinary citizen or a common man is hardly equipped to match the might of the State or its instrumentalities. The servants of the government are also the servants of the people and the use of their power must always be subordinate to their duty of service. A public functionary if he acts maliciously or oppressively and the exercise of power results in harassment and agony then it is not an exercise of power but its abuse. No law provides protection against it. He who is responsible for it must suffer it. But when it arises due to arbitrary or capricious behaviour then it loses its individual character and assumes social significance."

Further, noting the Government's stand that it had acted against accused police officers and an SIT has been formed to investigate the matter, the Court expressed its concern over the delay in submitting a preliminary inquiry report by the State Police even after three months.

"This, prima facie, indicates casual, illegal and arbitrary approach of the respondents for the reasons best known to them," the Court noted as it directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to conclude the investigation and departmental proceeding expeditiously, preferably within three months.

Lastly, underscoring that in a modern society no authority can arrogate to itself the power to act in a manner which is arbitrary, the Court remarked thus:

"It is unfortunate that matters which require immediate attention linger on and the man in the street is made to run from one end to other with no result. Even in ordinary matters a common man who has neither the political backing nor the financial strength to match the inaction in public oriented departments gets frustrated which erodes the credibility in the system."

The matter in brief

On May 2, 2021, the Victim (Resham Singh), along with his mother and two sisters was going from Pilibhit to Lakhim Pur Kheri when they were stopped by the Police Officials at around 9 am and they enquired from the Victim and his family members as to where they were going and also asked for the papers of the car in which they were traveling.

Allegedly, since it was taking some time to sort out the papers, the Police Officials out of the blue started abusing the victim and his family members, which included his mother and two sisters.

The Victim asked the Police Officials to not abuse them as there were women as well who were traveling with him. It was also informed by the Victim that he is a retired member of the armed forces of India.

Thereafter, the Police Officials got infuriated on the same and threatened the victim and his family members that they will teach them a lesson for life and then started abusing him and beating the Victim with lathis.

Allegedly, the Police Officials also started beating the mother and sisters of the Victim and took them to the police station without taking the assistance of any woman Police officer.

That after forcefully being taken to the said Police Station, the Victim was disrobed and then tied up on a cot and brutally beaten up by the said police officials for two continuous hours using "Dandas", Fist and leg blows and gave him third-degree torture only to satisfy their ego.

Allegedly, the cops abused him on his Sikh identity, tied him up, tore out his turban, pulled his hair, beat him with lathis—causing grave injuries on his backside and hips

Further, it was submitted that the Police Officials did not stop at the physical torture of the Victim, but in order to further humiliate the Victim, they also threatened the Victim that they will cut his unshorn hair in order to teach him a lesson of his life.

Case title - Resham Singh v. State Of Uttar Pradesh And 2 Others

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