Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a woman and her two sisters were allegedly stripped and tortured inside a police station in Darrang district of Assam.

Reportedly, the incident happened while they were being interrogated by the police in connection with a case of their brother, who had, allegedly, eloped with the girl of a different religion. It is mentioned in the news report that the woman was carrying pregnancy of more than two months and due to injuries, she allegedly sustained at the police station, the pregnancy had to be terminated.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights. Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and the DGP, Assam calling for a detailed report on the matter within four weeks including medical treatment record of the victim and present status of her health condition.

The report must speak whether prior permission of the Judicial Magistrate was taken by the police team to arrest the women victims during the night of 08.09.2019. The Commission would also like to know whether any steps have been taken by the state authorities to provide any kind of relief and counseling to the victims.

The Commission has also observed that apparently, as reported in the media, the police authorities have violated Section 46 (4) of the Cr.P.C. by picking up the women victims, after the sunset. The brother of the victims is reportedly wanted in a criminal case and not the victims. The police authorities had taken the victims in their custody, in an illegal manner. The reported medical condition of one of the sisters is indicative of the fact that they were tortured by the police.

According to the media reports, carried today on 19th September, 2019, the incident occurred on 08.09.2019 and it came to light on 10.09.2019, when the victims, after failing to get any response from the police authorities, decided to approach the media. One of the sisters lodged the complaint with the Superintendent of Police, Darrang on 10.09.2019, alleging that she, along with her sisters was picked up from their residence by the officer-in-charge of Burha police outpost, in the night of 08.09.2019 and they were tortured inside the police station. Two policemen and a woman constable were reportedly involved in torturing them throughout the night asking the whereabouts of their brother. Later, one of the sisters, who was pregnant, was hospitalized and the doctors told her that her pregnancy is to be terminated.

As mentioned in the news report, a Sub-Inspector and lady constable who were accused to have been involved in stripping and torturing of three sisters, have been placed under suspension and a DIG rank officer has been assigned the task of supervising the investigation.

National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 18-09-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has refused to entertain the plea seeking SIT probe in the custodial deaths of two men in Bihar’s Sitamarhi.

The order reads,

“We are not inclined to entertain these petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The writ petitions are, accordingly, dismissed. The petitioners may move the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, if so advised. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case.”

The petition was moved before the Supreme Court by NGO “Citizens Against Hate” through advocate Fauzia Shakil demanding an SIT probe monitored by a former Director General of Police of another State and a magisterial inquiry into the death of two Muslim men – Taslim Ansari and Ghufran Ansari. Both of them were taken into custody on March 5 for allegedly killing a man while stealing his motorbike.

When their families reached the police station the next day, they were told that the men were already dead. However, the families discovered wounds on the bodies of both the men and filed an FIR for their custodial deaths. Consequently, 5 policemen were suspended but no one has been arrested yet.

The Court, however, held that it was not inclined to entertain the petition and that the petitioners had the right to move the High Court.

[Citizens Against Hate v. State of Bihar, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.130/2019, decided on 02.07.2019]

(With inputs from The Leaflet)