Bombay High Court Directs State to Investigate on Police Brutality Charges

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The Bombay High Court on 23rd July 2020 directed a further investigation in a PIL alleging police brutality that resulted in death.

Brief Facts of the Case 

Four policemen are accused of abusing a 22-year old man in Vile Parle, Mumbai. The incident took place on 29 March 2020 during the lockdown, resulting in his death. A PIL was subsequently filed by Advocate Firdaus Irani highlighting police brutality during the lockdown period.

In a previous order dated 17 July, the Court had directed the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bandra Division to investigate the matter. He was to submit a report stating whether the death of the deceased was the result of the injuries inflicted on him by the police officials.

The Assistant Commissioner filed a status report on 23 July. It identified the four policemen accused of assaulting the deceased. It was proposed that a departmental proceeding be initiated against them.

Petitioner’s Arguments

The petitioner had viewed the CCTV footage from the night of the incident. It was evident from the footage placed on record that the policemen were not part of the mob assaulting the deceased. However, they were shown to discipline him with the force of fiber lathis. It is now to be investigated whether those injuries resulted in the death of the deceased.

Court’s Decision

The Court remarked that it was distressing to note that no prior investigation had been conducted in the case. However, the Court was satisfied with the status report filed. They directed the Assistant Commissioner to proceed further with the investigation. They noted that the inquiry must now be completed as fairly and expeditiously as possible. The Court also directed that a further status report and a police report must be filed with the Court under Section 173(2) of the CrPC.

Additionally, the decision taken on the proposal of departmental inquiry must also be disclosed to the Court. The Court directed the co-operation of the hostile mother and brother of the deceased as they are the main witnesses in the present case. They were ordered under Section 160 CrPC to cooperate with the investigation compulsorily. The status report is to be filed by 5 August. The matter is posted to be heard next on 6 August 2020.


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