A Mumbai businessman has approached the Bombay high court, questioning the moral policing witnessed during raids on a Malwani hotel, where several couples were detained, fined and humiliated.
Contending that the raid was a blatant violation of the law, Khar resident Sumeer Sabharwal has sought a court-monitored inquiry into the raid, and appropriate action against the erring police personnel.
He has also sought quashing of the police action of imposing fine on the couples, and stated the compensation should be recovered from the personnel involved.
On Friday, Sabharwal’s counsel, advocate Shilpi Jain, mentioned the petition for urgent hearing before a division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawalla.
Accepting the request, the court has now posted the petition for hearing on August 20.
The Supreme Court lawyer claimed the police raid on the hotel was a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of the people occupying the rooms, and if such high-handed actions are left unquestioned, it will bring into motion a very dangerous trend, which will leave individuals in a state of perpetual uncertainty and fear at the hands of police.
“The action of the police was intrusive and seriously overreached privacy of citizens, infringing upon their freedom of movement, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India,” states the petition. “There is no provision in law authorising the act of the police,” it states further, adding, “A hotel room hired by the guest becomes his private room and even the hotel staff cannot walk into the room without permission of the guest.”
Citing media reports, Sabharwal has stated that some fine was recovered from those detained after the raid, and contended that the levy and recovery of fine was illegal, unconstitutional and a misuse of the authority by the police.
The businessman, has therefore, also sought quashment of these imposition and recovery of fine on the couples apprehended during the raid.
* On August 7 , 64 people, including 13 couples, were rounded up from around the Dana Pani beach and collectively fined Rs 76,800 by the Malwani police
* The incident sparked outrage, with many accusing the police of moral policing
* The petition states that personnel attached to the Malwani police station barged into the rooms of a hotel near Dana Pani beach and dragged out several couples
* It further states the hotel rooms were searched by the police and the personal belongings of the couples were ransacked
* The couples were apprehended and brought to the Malwani police station, where they were illegally detained for several hours and family members of some of the apprehended people were called
* Those detained were humiliated in presence of the family members, the petition adds
* The police have, however, maintained the raid was necessary as locals had complained of people drinking on the streets and creating a nuisance
* They have also complained of commercial sex workers operating in the area’s hotels and even on the streets
Violation of fundamental rights
* Petitioner Sumeer Sabharwal’s counsel claimed the police raid was a blatant violation of fundamental rights of the people occupying the hotels’ rooms
* If such high-handed actions are left unquestioned, it will bring into motion a very dangerous trend, which will leave individuals in a state of perpetual uncertainty and fear at the hands of police, the lawyer said.