Holding the Delhi Police prima facie guilty of resorting to violence against peaceful protesters, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to expeditiously inquire into police action against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers in June this year.
The AAP volunteers were protesting against laxity on the part of police in registering an FIR into an incident of a minors rape in East Delhi.
The Commission shall take further required steps and action as per law after concluding the inquiry/investigation so that persons(s) found guilty may be subjected to required penalty,according to law,without undue delay, a bench led by Justice
G S Singhvi said.
The bench,also comprising Justices S K Singh and C Nagappan,said the NHRC probe shall be carried out in addition to the probe by the special investigation team (SIT),constituted by the Delhi Police Commissioner on October 31,for an independent inquiry into the impugned incident.
The SIT will be headed by DCP Bhisham Singh,who will work under the supervision of Joint Commissioner of Police (crime). The court made it clear that no officials of Gokul Puri police station would be involved in the investigation of the incident of June 19.
The petition had been filed by AAP workers Beenu Rawat and others,demanding an independent investigation into the alleged police brutality on them and subsequent initiation of criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary proceedings against the guilty police officers.
The PIL also sought monetary compensation for their illegal arrest and torture by the Delhi Police,which has resulted in gross violation of their fundamental rights to live with dignity.
During the hearing,police had defended its action,contending reasonable force was used after the crowd went into a frenzy and started destroying public property. Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra had also arranged for screening of the video recording of the incident.
The bench,after watching the recorded footage,noted that they did not show acts of rioting or any arms or brickbats in the hands of the protesters whereas the recording was stopped as soon as police started using lathis on them.
We are left with no option but to hold,at least prima facie,that in the incident in question,peaceful protesters were subjected to beating by lathis,etc. by police which included personnel from the police station concerned as well as a force called from adjoining police stations, the court held.
It asked the NHRC to probe after holding that the grievances of the petitioners require investigation by an authority having statutory jurisdiction in such matters.