Noting that none of the affected individuals rounded up by the police during raids in Malwani last year had expressed any grievance over the manner in which the raids were conducted, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said the police had tried correcting their mistake by issuing guidelines for checking hotels and lodges.
A bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A A Sayed was hearing a public interest litigation that said the raid on hotels in suburban Malwani last year was a wrongful exercise of power by the police.
On August 6, the Mumbai Police had raided hotels located along the beach in the city’s northern suburbs and booked couples on charges of indecency. Sixty-four people, including 13 women, had been taken to the police station.
“Is it not significant that those who have been caught have not come before the court expressing grievance against the manner in which the raids were carried out? If police have corrected the situation by issuing guidelines what more remains?” questioned the court.
After directions by the court in March this year, the commissioner of police had issued guidelines that include ensuring that no person is deprived of his/her right to life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law.
Other guidelines entail ensuring display of identity card by police, having a woman officer in the police team, first approaching management (reception or lobby manager) to get details of checked-in customers, behaving in appropriate manner with inmates of such establishments, particularly with women and aged persons, ensuing that media should not be given access during such raids, besides other points.
“There is limitation in carrying on this petition beyond a point,” said the court, adding the petitioner should address them on the guidelines issued by the police only.
“None of the affected individuals has approached court. In fact, the senior inspector of police, Malwani, asked all those charged to remain present before the magistrate. None of them approached making any grievance about the raids,” said the High Court.
The petitioner has been given till June 29, to address the court on the guidelines.
With the petitioner’s lawyer still raising questions on the manner in which the raids were conducted, Justice Oka said, “It is a requirement of law that if someone takes a room in a hotel, identification documents have to be furnished. In such cases, when police receive a complaint, they have to verify it in case such documents have not been furnished.”