Mukherjee Nagar Case: Delhi HC Raps Police For ‘Brutality’

The court further said if a uniformed force would act in this manner, it would “scare the citizens”.

Updated
India
5 min read
Members of the Sikh community protested outside the Mukherjee Nagar police station after the altercation between the driver and policemen.
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday 19 June, rapped the Delhi Police for the alleged assault on a tempo driver and his minor son in Mukherjee Nagar, saying it was "evidence of police brutality" and how an uniformed force ought not to act.

“How can you justify assault of a 15-year-old boy? If this is not evidence of police brutality then what more do you need?”
Delhi High Court Bench

The bench, comprising of Justices Jayant Nath and Najmi Waziri came to the conclusion after perusing the videos of the assault.

On Sunday, 16 June, some policemen were said to have thrashed a tempo driver, identified as Sarabjeet Singh, and his son after he allegedly attacked a cop with a sword.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the order and said that those entrused with protecting citizens “cannot create discord.”

What Did the Court Say?

The court further said if a uniformed force would act in this manner, it would "scare the citizens" who need to feel that police is there to ensure their safety.

“How can any uniformed force do this? This would scare the citizens that the uniformed force is acting in this manner. Would create disquiet in the society. You (police) have to show you are with the citizens. That is what the citizens, including children, want.”
Delhi High Court Bench

The observations by the court came while issuing notice to the Centre, AAP government and Delhi Police seeking their stand on a PIL for an independent CBI probe into the incident.

The bench also called for an independent report within a week regarding the incident from an officer of the rank of Joint Commissioner of Police and listed the matter for further hearing on 2 July.

On Sunday evening, several video clips of a brawl between Sarabjeet Singh, the auto driver, and policemen went viral on social media.

‘Suspending Three Officers Not Enough’

Delhi government additional standing counsel Satyakam, appearing for the police, said he was not defending the actions of the officers, adding FIRs have been lodged on complaints of both sides and they have been transferred to the Crime Branch for investigation.

He also told the court that three officers, who were identified from the videos, have been suspended and an officer of Joint Commissioner of Police rank is heading an independent enquiry into the incident.

However, the court, not satisfied with the submission, said eight to nine of the officers involved in the assault were clearly identifiable, and asked why no action has been taken against all of them.

The bench, which perused the video in court, also said the clips showed five officers dragging the minor boy along the street and beating him with sticks and asked what action has been taken against them.

“Identify the five officers who assaulted the boy, dragged him along the street all the while pelting him with sticks and that too in open daylight. The boy was unarmed and he was only trying to take his father away from there and yet he was brutally beaten by the officers.”
Delhi High Court Bench

It told the police and the Cental and AAP governments that action has to be taken against the five officers also who had beaten up the boy.

In one of the videos which went viral on social media, the tempo driver was seen chasing the policemen with a sword and in the other the officers were seen thrashing the auto driver and his son with batons.

Independent CBI Probe And Appropriate Guidelines

Apart from an independent CBI probe, the petition by Seema Singhal – a lawyer – has also sought framing of appropriate guidelines for police reforms to prevent such "violent acts of police brutality and excessive force".

The petition, filed through advocate Sangeeta Bharti, has also sought compensation for the victims of the assault.

It has also urged the court to call for the status and medical reports of the case along with the CCTV footage from Mukherjee Nagar police station.

According to police, the altercation had taken place after the tempo driver's vehicle collided with a police van. Eight personnel were injured in the brawl, the police had claimed.

Subsequent to the incident, the Delhi Police suspended three policemen for "unprofessional behaviour" and had initiated a probe.

WHAT DOES DELHI POLICE’S REPORT SAY?

  • The report is believed to have mentioned the registration of two FIRs — one on a complaint by the tempo driver and the other by a policeman who was injured in the incident.
  • The policeman, according to the report, got a 7 cm gash on his head in the alleged attack by the driver.
  • The report, as per PTI sources, also says that the tempo driver provoked the policemen.
  • It also mentions the action taken against three police personnel for their "unprofessional conduct" and their subsequent suspension.
  • The report also praises a policeman, who was in civilian clothes, for his attempt to control the situation.

WHAT DID THE INJURED POLICEMAN SAY?

Mukherjee Nagar Assistant Sub Inspector Yograj, who was allegedly attacked with a sword by the driver, told news agency PTI on Tuesday that he is hopeful justice will be delivered.

Yograj, who is in charge of deploying officials for cases, said he tried to grab the tempo driver from behind as the latter started charging at other policemen.

The ASI, however, maintained that the situation could have been handled in a more professional manner.

“A policeman is on duty 24x7 and I had to act promptly. If someone brandishes a weapon at a police official or anyone in a public space, as a police officer, it was my duty to act.”
ASI Yograj

WHAT WAS THE SCUFFLE ABOUT?

On Sunday evening, a brawl between Sarabjeet Singh and policemen at northwest Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar went viral on social media.

In one of the purported videos, Singh was seen chasing the policemen with a sword. In another video, the police officers were seen thrashing him and his son with batons.

The police said that the altercation took place after Singh's vehicle collided with a police van.

Eight police personnel were injured in the scuffle, the police told PTI.

WHAT ARE POLITICAL LEADERS SAYING ABOUT IT?

The incident snowballed into a major political row on Monday, 17 June prompting the Home Ministry to seek response from the Delhi Police.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded that Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal take strict action against the police personnel who allegedly assaulted the driver.

His Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh termed the incident "shameful."

The Congress and the BJP have demanded a fair probe into the incident with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) seeking dismissal of the officers.

(Edited for clarity)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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