High court pulls up cops over assault on 15-yr-old
“Why was the young boy dragged on the street?... how can you justify assault of a 15-year-old boy? ”
These were the questions the Delhi High Court asked of the Delhi Police on Wednesday while hearing a case related to the Mukherjee Nagar incident on Sunday.
On Sunday evening, several video clips had emerged of the driver allegedly attacking a police team with a sword and his son trying to mow down policemen with his tempo, in an alleged attempt to rescue his father. Once the two of them were overpowered, the policemen were seen dragging and thrashing them. The clash began as a “road rage” incident after the driver’s tempo hit a police vehicle. Police said that the driver has been arrested four times in the past and had also assaulted another person earlier this year.
The two-judge bench of justices Jayant Nath and Najmi Waziri issued notices to the ministry of home affairs, Delhi government and the Delhi Police and has also sought a status report from police within a week.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Seema Singhal, a Delhi High Court advocate, who sought a CBI inquiry in the case.
In her petition, Singhal had also sought initiation of “departmental inquiry against all the erring police officers” and compensation for the father-son duo.
In her petition, Singhal challenged the “barbaric, horrific and malafide use of power by the police” on the driver and his son. She said that “a service gun was pointed towards the minor boy by these policemen threatening him of dire consequences.”
During the hearing, an additional standing counsel appearing the Delhi Police told the court that the investigation has been transferred to the crime branch and that the incident is being probed by a joint commissioner of police.
He also said that three police personnel have already been suspended and cross-FIRs, one against the father-son duo and another against some policemen, have been registered.
The court went through a video of the incident and said that eight to nine police personnel were clearly seen assaulting the driver’s son. “How can you, standing for the state, justify the action of the five police officers who run after a 15-year-old boy who has been trying to take his father away?” the two judge bench said. The court observed that the Delhi police has “many fine officers” and if there “are some who cannot control themselves in such situations, action needs to be taken against them”.
“This creates a sense of extensive disquiet in society if the uniformed force is behaving in this manner,” the court said. “Our concern is mainly that citizens must be reassured that the police force is with them, especially children,” said the bench and listed the matter for July 2.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the court’s order. “Those entrusted with protecting citizens cannot create discord in the society and spread senseless violence,” he tweeted.