The Bombay high court on Monday admitted a petition filed by Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, seeking damages worth Rs10 crore from the Mumbai police over one of its internal circulars whereby the police had blamed the Jamaat for “brainwashing and training” young Muslim women for “jihad”.
This internal circular of the Mumbai police was leaked in 2013 and its contents published by a regional daily. In the circular, that the police claimed was meant only for circulation within 37 police stations across the city, it had said that the members of Jamaat’s offshoot, Girl’s Islamic Organisation, were “training other Muslim women, turning them into religious bigots and preparing them for jihadi activities.”
Jamaat approached the HC with a writ petition alleging that the circular was defamatory.
A bench headed by justice SC Dharmadhikari asked the police and the Maharashtra government to explain how the police circular was leaked and its contents made public.
While the police, in an affidavit filed before the HC admitted having issued the said circular, it said that the leak was “unintentional” and “unauthorised”. The police said it did not intend to hurt any religious sentiments. It also said that while an internal inquiry had been conducted to identify the person behind the leak, the same had remained inconclusive.
The petitioner claimed before the HC that the circular was defamatory and was intended at spoiling the organisation’s reputation.
Its petition also sought guidelines for the police making it mandatory that it verifies all communications and information before issuing circulars based on the same.
And for such “damage to its reputation”, the Jamaat sought the monetary compensation from the police.
It said that the circular had violated its Fundamental Rights and that it had been wronged by the police that seemed to have wanted to suggest that the Jamaat and its sister organisations had links with “terrorist activities”.