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No derogatory aliases, HC tells police

A Bombay HC order has cautioned policemen to not to use aliases with names, reports Manish Pachouly.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 21:12 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly

The police henceforth won’t be able to use derogatory aliases with the names of accused or suspects, especially those based on his caste or community that will humiliate him.

A Bombay High Court order earlier this month has cautioned policemen to not to usealiases with the names or offending terms to represent the caste of a person.

The direction came in response to a petition filed by an NCP worker Shailesh Tiwari who took strong objection to the use of word ‘bhaiyya’ to show his caste in the charge sheet filed against him in a case of obstructing a government servant from performing his duty.

Tiwari’s caste in columnsix of the charge sheet, in which personal details of an accused are mentioned, was stated as “Brahmin bhaiyya.

The particular case was filed against Tiwari at Vithalwadi police station in Ulhasnagar in May when he had an argument and scuffle with a traffic policeman. The charge sheet was filed in August.

On finding the caste mentioned in a “derogatory” way, Tiwari filed a petition in the HC through his lawyer Shaila Pandey. Senior inspector of Vithalwadi Police Station RK Sawant was made respondent in the case along with others. Tiwari is presently behind bars, as he is booked under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act as he has a couple of criminal cases against him.

Pandey told Hindustan Times that the order was issued by Justice JN Patel and Justice Roshan Dalvi.

She said that with the order, the police force wouldn’t be able to use derogatory aliases in any case. “Only if there is a genuine alias, it can be used,” said Pandey.

While cautioning the police force, the order said “in future they should not take liberty with the citizens whether he is an accused or not to add alias to his name or the surname or address him in a manner so as to humiliate him.

In their reply, the Vithalwadi police denied that the officers indulged in such an act and humiliated Tiwari. They said that the caste was recorded on the basis of information given by Tiwari. “Leave aside the veracity of the explanation given by the respondent officer, but the court can take judicial notice of the fact that if a person is asked particulars of his caste, a Brahmin would never add “bhaiyya” because there is no such caste as Brahmin bhaiyya,” the order said.

The order further said that the police officers have no right to add alias to the name of a person or his caste as per their whims and own choice as it is likely to offend a person.

First Published: Oct 18, 2006 21:12 IST