The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 30 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Petition slams police action

Cuttack, Jan. 29: A PIL has urged Orissa High Court to deem police action — making students kneel down in public view — as violation of human rights and issue direction for “exemplary action” against the cops involved in it.

The PIL has also sought “adequate compensation” (Rs 5 lakh) to each of the six victim boys and girls.

The alleged incident took place on January 15. Six students — three girls and three boys were picked up by the police from a park near Trilochaneswar temple in Jajpur town. They were taken to Jajpur town police station and ordered to kneel down in front of the building. Their parents were summoned to the police station. The youngsters, however, were set free after a warning and no case was registered in the matter.

The PIL, filed by human rights activist advocate Prabir Kumar Das, argued that “the police cannot take any action against the young boys and girls, who have not committed any offence or crime. If any offence is committed by anybody, the police can take action in accordance with the law, but it cannot act like a moral police or kangaroo court”.

By forcing the boys and girls to kneel down in full public view, the police had acted “in violation of human rights”. The police action was also “illegal, inhuman and indecent that resulted in blatant violation of the basic and fundamental rights of dignity, liberty and privacy guaranteed under Article 19 and 21 of Constitution of India”, the PIL contends. The petition has not been taken up for hearing by the high court so far.

“The law is settled that the state is liable to compensate the victims, whose basic human rights and fundamental rights under Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) has been violated by the employees of the state. It is also settled that the compensation may be awarded as a public law remedy in public interest litigation,” the petition argues.

The police action had triggered protests in Jajpur town. The All India Human Rights Association’s Jajpur district unit had condemned the act as a reprehensible one and violation of human rights.

Officials of Jajpur town police station, on the other hand, had claimed that the six students — three pairs of boys and girls — had been caught for kissing, cuddling and holding each other’s hand and annoying the public for such activities. The police said they had been picked up as part of a drive undertaken to avoid complications such as kidnapping, rape and murder of girls.