Monday, October 25, 2010

what should be done to policemen who ‘bobbitt' a person in a police station? - Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday deprecated the “colonial mentality” of the police in using third degree methods and said such outlawed practices had no place in a democratic country governed by the rule of law.

A Bench comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice T.S. Thakur, dealing with a case of policemen using third degree methods and cutting off the private part of an accused who was brought to the police station, said: “This case reveals how some policemen in our country have not gotten over their old colonial mentality and are still persisting in barbaric acts in a free country which claims to be run by a democratic Constitution and the rule of law.”

Pointing out that the question to be decided in this case was “what should be done to policemen who ‘bobbitt' a person in a police station and think that they can get away with it,” the Bench said: “It also reveals a grisly state of affairs prevailing in our police set-up even today.”

‘Harsher punishment'

Writing the judgment, Justice Katju said: “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 and not break the law themselves.

“If the protector becomes the predator, civilised society will cease to exist. As the Bible says, ‘If the salt has lost its flavour, wherewith shall it be salted?' Or as the ancient Romans used to say, ‘Who will guard the praetorian guards'?”

In this case, a policeman, Kishore Singh, was charged with chopping off the private part of Jugta Ram, an accused brought to the Sadar police station under the jurisdiction of the Barmer area, while three other policemen — Sohan Singh, Bheru Singh (who died during trial) and Sumer Dan — held the accused.

The trial court held the three policemen guilty and sentenced Kishore Singh to life imprisonment, Sumner Dan to 10 years imprisonment, and Sohan Singh to six years imprisonment.

On appeal, the Rajasthan High Court acquitted Sohan Singh and Sumer Dan and reduced Kishore Singh's sentence to the sentence already undergone. The appeal by the CBI is directed against this judgment.

Allowing the appeal, the Bench said that all the accused were guilty of totally flouting and throwing to the winds the directives of the Supreme Court that were given in the D.K. Basu case in 1996. It said: “That decision outlawed third degree methods in police stations, but it is well-known that third degree methods are still widely used in many of our police stations.”

‘Deserves no leniency'

The Bench said: “On the facts of the case, we see no reason to disbelieve the prosecution case, and we are surprised how the High court has acquitted Sohan Singh and Sumer Dan and reduced the sentence of the accused Kishore Singh. It was a barbaric act on the part of the accused, who deserves no leniency.”

The Bench — while awarding five years imprisonment to Kishore Singh and a fine of Rs.50,000 — set aside the acquittal of Sumer Dan and Sohan Singh and sentenced them to undergo three years and six months imprisonment respectively. They were directed to pay a fine of Rs.50,000 and Rs.10,000.

No comments:

Post a Comment