Cops involved in barbaric acts threat to society: apex court

The Supreme Court Monday said some policemen in India still lived with a colonial mindset and perpetrated barbaric acts which were an anathema to a democratic society.

The court said this while hearing a case in which a man’s penis was cut off by policemen in Rajasthan.

‘If protector becomes the predator, civilized society will cease to exist,’ the judgment read.

‘This case reveals that some policemen have not got over their old colonial mentality and are persisting in barbaric acts in a free country which claims to be run by democratic constitution and rule of law,’ said Justice Markandey Katju and Justice T.S. Thakur.

‘It also reveals a grisly state of affairs prevailing in our police set up,’ the court said.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Katju said the question before the court was: ‘What should be done to policemen who ‘Bobbitt’ a person in a police station and think they can get away with it?’

Victim Jugta Ram was taken to the Sadar police station in Barmer Feb 2, 1994 by constable Kishore Singh.

Jugta Ram was an assistant in a liquor shop owned by Bheru Singh and lived with the latter.

Jugta Ram was suspected of having an illicit relationship with Bheru Singh’s wife and his eldest daughter. The constable who took Jugta Ram to police station was related to Bheru Singh.

At the police station, Jugta Ram was illegally detained and tortured. On Feb 5, 1994, he admitted to his illicit ties with Bheru Singh’s wife.

Thereafter, he was held by the Station House Officer Sohan Singh and Assistant Sub-Inspector Sumer Dan and constable Kishore Singh used a sharp edged blade to chop off Jugta Ram’s penis.

In December 2005, the trial court awarded life imprisonment to constable Kishore Singh and different jail terms to Sohan Singh and Sumer Dan.

The Rajasthan High Court acquitted Sohan and Sumer Dan. Kishore Singh’s sentence was reduced to imprisonment already undergone.

The court said that what the policemen did ‘was a barbaric act’ and they deserve no leniency.

Rebutting the arguments of the senior counsel for the accused that there was no witness other than Jugta Ram, the judgment said: ‘A police station is not a public road or public place where people can see what is going on.

‘In our opinion, policemen who commit criminal acts deserve harsher punishment than other persons who commit such acts because it is the duty of the policemen to protect the people, not break the law.’

Gulberg society massacre witnesses’ plea rejected

The Gujarat High Court Thursday rejected a petition by witnesses of Gulberg society massacre in Ahmedabad during the 2002 Gujarat riots, seeking to summon some government officials as witnesses and cross-examine them.

Pleading that former MP Ehsan Jafri had talked with some top officials and highly-placed people to seek their help before he was killed by a mob, Imtiyazkhan Pathan and others had sought examining of policemen and officers, fire brigade officials and Ahmedabad city police control room wireless operator and other staff on duty on the day in question.

Such questioning would also throw light on the role of the then joint commissioner of police, M.K. Tandon in this incident, they contended.

However Justice Akil Kureshi rejected the plea. Earlier a lower court had also turned down their plea.

A total of 69 people including Jafri were killed in the incident.

Aberrations in judiciary reflection of society: Moily

The few aberrations in an otherwise highly efficient judiciary are only a reflection of society and these have to be removed, Union Minister of Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily said on Sunday. Speaking at a regional review meeting of the implementation of the 13th finance commission

recommendations on improving justice delivery and other matters here, Moily also underlined the importance of retaining the independence of the judiciary.

The minister made these observations in the presence of chief justices of five high courts of the western region.

“The judiciary in India is of the high standards. Some aberrations are there, but they are a reflection of society. These aberrations have to be removed,” Moily said in his written statement, without making any direct reference to corruption in the judicial system.

The western regional meeting of chief justices comes after similar consultative meetings in Guwahati, Kolkata and Chennai organised to discuss the disbursement and utilisation of the Rs.5,000 crore allotted by the 13th finance commission this financial year for improving courts and the justice delivery system.

Out of the allocation, Rs.2,500 crore would be spent on creation of morning and evening courts for disposal of petty cases.

Around Rs.750 crore will be spent on creation of an alternative dispuste redressal system and Rs.100 crore will be spend on forming Lok Adalats for quick disposal of cases.