Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Mohammad Rafiq, CJ. and Atul Sreedharan, J., decided on a petition which was filed in the form of public interest litigation seeking direction to register FIR against Respondent 7 and Respondent 8, who are Police Constables posted at Police Station – Pardeshipura, Indore as they had misused their powers subjecting innocent rickshaw-puller to merciless beating. They prayed for a direction to the respondents to constitute an independent Committee or Grievance Cell, who may examine the complaints against excesses misconduct of the Policemen.

Counsel for the petitioner, Ms Shanno Shagufta Khan submitted that news article published in the newspaper Indian Express, Bhopal Edition on 8-4-2021 two constables of Police Station – Pardeshipura, Indore were placed under suspension after their video beating an auto rickshaw driver became viral on social media; allegedly for not wearing the mask in a proper manner. The counsel submitted numerous similar incidents which took place in the State. The counsel added that it was not only these cases but t a lawyer and two journalists were also subjected to assault by the police in Madhya Pradesh in last three months.

Mr Swapnil Ganguly, Deputy Advocate General for the respondent/State submitted that this Court in its order dated 17-5-2021 in Shekhar Choudhary v. State of Madhya Pradesh, W.P. No. 8655 of 2021 had already issued necessary order to the police directing that no citizen, who is found not wearing mask or not following social distancing norms or not following lockdown conditions, should be subjected to corporal punishment or beating and that in the current case charge sheet has been issued against Respondent 7 & 8 for taking appropriate disciplinary action.

The Court reiterated its earlier decision in Shekhar Choudhary v. State of Madhya Pradesh that policemen should rather counsel people by sensitizing them about the need of following Covid protocols such as wearing mask, following norms of social distancing or abiding lockdown/Corona curfew restrictions and directed the Superintendent of Police, Indore to take appropriate action against the erring police officials on complaints of excesses and beating by police.

[Osheen Sharma v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine MP 978, decided on 24-05-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

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