Bombay High Court Demands State’s Reply in PIL Depicting Cases of Police Savagery in Mumbai During Lockdown

The Bombay High Court directed the State government to reply to the contentions raised in a PIL. The issue raised was regarding increased cases of police brutality in Mumbai during the lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Introduction

Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik heard a PIL filed by Advocate Firdaus Irani. He is an advocate and activist. He alleged that a group of men in plainclothes assaulted him, his wife and his two sons. They were assaulted outside their house in Goregaon. The men included some policemen and MCGM officials.

Facts & Issues of the Case

Irani contends that on April 16, 2020, he arrived outside his house along with his wife. He saw a group of men in plainclothes along with police officers and MCGM officials were shooting away hawkers. Furthermore, he started to walk towards his house with his wife. Then, a man in plain clothes armed with a lathi in hand charged at him hurling abuses. Later, ten others joined him. They too started threatening the petitioner. His two sons came to his defence, but they were unable. Consequently, the petitioner, his wife and two sons were beaten up in the courtyard of the house.

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The petitioner tried to file a police complaint immediately after the incident. Instead, a notice under Section 41 A(1) of CrPC was issued to him. The notice alleged him of committing offences under Sections 188, 269 and 34 of IPC. Moreover, it alleged that police officials terrorise residents in the Goregaon area. They took hefty bribes from shopkeepers for keeping shops open throughout the day. The hefty amount usually is between 5000 and 25000. Moreover, the illegal and unauthorised hawkers were able to sell goods with impunity.

The PIL

“The root cause responsible for rising of rogue elements within the police machinery is due to the toothless implementation of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the case of

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Parkash Singh & Ors v. Union of India & Ors.”

The petitioner marked a report by a human rights organisation. The report is stating that a total of 15 persons died across the country. The reason is due to police brutalities committed during the lockdown. Furthermore, two such cases are from Mumbai.

Court’s Decision

Assistant Government Pleader Jyoti Chavan appeared for the state government. She opposed the prayers in the PIL. She submits that these are one-off incidents. Furthermore, she added police authorities are performing their duties as per the law. The state sought time to file a reply in the matter, and the bench allowed time for specific days.


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