Gujarat High Court Finds Four Cops Guilty of Contempt for Flogging Muslim Men
Image Courtesy: Twitter
New Delhi: In a significant development, the Gujarat High Court has ruled that four Gujarat Police officers are guilty of committing contempt of court by violating the Apex Court's DK Basu Guidelines. The officers were sentenced to undergo a simple imprisonment of 14 days for their involvement in publicly flogging Muslim men in the Kheda district in October last year. However, the court has stayed the execution of the sentence for a period of three months, following a request from the accused officers' counsel to file an appeal against the order.
A bench consisting of Justice AS Supehia and Justice Gita Gopi delivered the verdict, expressing their displeasure that they were compelled to pass such orders. Additionally, the court imposed a fine of Rs. 2000 on each of the police officers. Failure to pay the fine will result in an additional three-day imprisonment.
The controversy began on October 4 when the High Court initiated contempt charges against a Local Crime Branch Inspector (AV. Parmar), Sub-Inspector (AV. Parmar), Sub-Inspector (D.B. Kumavat), Head Constable (Kanaksingh Laxman Singh), and a Constable (Raju Rameshbhai Dabhi). On October 16, the victims declined to accept the monetary compensation offered by the four policemen. Earlier, in July of the same year, the High Court had directed the Nadia Chief Judicial Magistrate to examine pen drives and other electronic evidence, including videos related to the incident.
This legal action stems from a plea filed by five members of an affected family, seeking contempt proceedings against the accused police officers. The contempt plea alleged that the five victims were brutally beaten by the policemen from the Matar Police Station in the Kheda district the previous year, thereby violating the Apex Court's guidelines against custodial torture, as established in the case of DK Basu vs State of West Bengal. The police action was reportedly in response to a communal clash that occurred in Undhela village, situated in Matar Taluka of the Kheda district. It was alleged that certain intruders had thrown stones at the crowd during Navratri celebrations, leading to the arrest of at least 40 individuals.
In a previous hearing, the High Court had questioned whether any legal provision permitted the act of "an accused being tied up to a pole and beaten in full public view." In January of the same year, the Gujarat Government had admitted before the High Court that it had found five policemen, including a police inspector, prima facie guilty in connection with the flogging incident. Senior Advocate IH Syed represented the petitioners, while Senior Advocate Prakash Jani represented the police officers.
This verdict by the Gujarat High Court marks a significant development in the ongoing legal proceedings related to the flogging incident, emphasising the importance of upholding legal guidelines and preventing custodial torture. The stay on the sentence allows the accused police officers an opportunity to appeal the ruling in the coming months.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.