The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court directed the state police on Thursday to follow its own guidelines regarding working of the anti-Romeo squad.
A division bench of Justice AP Shahi and Justice Sanjay Harkauli passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by advocate Gaurav Gupta questioning the working of the anti-Romeo squad of UP Police.
The court also stated that a person who finds the action of an anti-Romeo squad unlawful could lodge a complaint before the appropriate authority or bring the matter before the appropriate court.
In his petition, Gupta also accused the anti-Romeo squad of harassing couples.
Gupta presented before the court a video clip of a conversation between a couple and members of the anti-Romeo squad at Lohia Park in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar. In the video, police officials are seen harassing the couple.
During the hearing, the court also summoned Manzil Saini, senior superintendent of police, Lucknow, and asked her under which provision of law the anti-Romeo squad had been constituted.
On behalf of the state government, chief standing counsel Mansoor Ahmad contended that proper guidelines had been issued by the state director general of police (DGP) to the anti-Romeo squad for carrying out a drive against harassers.
“We dispose of the writ petition with a direction to the respondents (state government) to ensure that the law is abided by in terms as prescribed and in terms of the guidelines that have been framed (for working of the anti-Romeo squad),” the court observed.
Police constituted anti-Romeo squads across the state following orders of the BJP government directing stern action against harassers.
However, the squad ran into trouble from day one for its highhandedness and alleged ill-treatment of couples.
The anti-Romeo squad, instead of targeting harassers, started harassing couples spending time together at parks and other public places.