The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up police for allegedly assaulting a tempo driver and his minor son in a North Delhi locality on Sunday, and said if the “uniform force is acting in this manner, it would scare citizens”. A bench of Justice Jayant Nath and Justice Najmi Waziri also sought a report from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the assault.
It restrained the media from naming the minor in their reports or TV programmes, observing that the “citizens must feel reassured that the force is for them, especially children”.
The bench also issued notice to the Delhi Police and directed that an interim report on the incident be filed before it by the Joint Commissioner concerned, without fail, before the next date of hearing, July 2.
The bench, which watched the video of the incident in open court, also pointed to the “brutality” by the police personnel, who were seen dragging the juvenile and kicking him.
“Eight-nine police personnel are seen in the video, who dragged the boy and thrashed him with danda. If this is not police brutality, then what is it?” it remarked.
It said the man might be armed, but “was the minor having any weapon”.
“He rescued his father with (his) bare hands, but you (police personnel) dragged (him) in broad daylight and… in public,” it said, adding, “the Delhi Police has many fine officers. If there are some who can’t control themselves and have no respect for the law, action needs to be taken against them. Those who assaulted the father are separate, but identify the ones who assaulted the child…”
Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam, appearing for police, told the court: “We are not here to defend them (errant police officers). We are looking into it and will file a report.”
He also apprised the court that three policemen have been suspended for “unprofessional behaviour” and a probe has been initiated.
“Police also registered cross FIRs against the driver and the policemen involved in the incident. Both cases have been transferred to the Crime Branch for detailed investigation,” Satyakam said.
The bench sought to know why only three personnel have faced action: “We can clearly see that there were around eight-nine personnel dragging the minor… The remaining need to be identified.”
The bench expressed its anger while hearing a petition seeking to secure and protect fundamental human rights of innocent citizens. The plea, filed through advocates Sangeeta Bharti and Rubinder Ghumman, sought an independent probe by the CBI or a similar agency into the “brutal attack”.
The plea also called for the status report of the case, along with CCTV footage from the police station, and sought directions to the Centre, Delhi government and others to compensate the family.