P&H HC | “India prides itself of many peoples of all colours ranging from white to black and aboriginal”: HC rebukes Police for using ‘unprintable word’ while referring to African national in case record

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajiv Narain Raina, J., while addressing a very serious observation in a matter with regard to “black people” being referred as “Negro”, stated that,

“Freedom does not lend its wings to our countrymen to fly anywhere they wish and in any manner they like and abuse foreigners on the street calling them ‘kalla’. To the contrary, freedom teaches love for human dignity and respect for fellowman.”

Bench while addressing a matter was appalled to note that to refer an African National in the challan papers presented under Section 173 CrPC the term “Nigro” was used.

Court on observing the above, stated that,

“…it is highly offensive word across the globe and no one has any business to use it, and much less the police.”

In view of the above, Court directed never to use the unprintable word in any police document including in challans or anywhere else on case papers including in investigation reports.

Bench also added that, police appears to have assumed that every black is a drug peddler and should be treated as such — this is terrible thinking.

Director General of Police, Punjab has also been requested to notify instructions after considering the above stated issue to the police force calling upon them never to use the offensive term ‘nigro’ or ‘negro’ while referring to “black” person in case papers.

The investigating officers and the police officials that record FIRs be immediately sensitized and warned on the issue by ensuring that no person should be looked down upon on the basis of the colour of his/her skin.

“…we should be reminded that India is rich in its traditions of ‘mehman nawazi’ and ‘atithi sanskar/satkar’ and prides itself on this.”

Court adding to its’ conclusion and analysis, stated that,

“We are, professedly, a tolerant sub-continent of “browns” in all its shades, but more often than not, display a perverted and primitive mind-set looking down on others without looking within ourselves.”

Strict action against the policemen who indulge in character assassination based on physical features, investigation of crime apart, investigation which should be non-aggressive in the search for truth and commission of cognizable offences.

The pernicious practice should be stopped forthwith and the police commanded on pain of disciplinary action never to address anyone by that description, forget about writing it down in official papers of permanent State record.

In the next date of hearing, Court should be informed of the action proposed in the above regard. [Amarjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 754 , decided on 12-06-2020]

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