BENGALURU: The State Government on Wednesday informed the Karnataka High Court that policemen were not in uniform when they met and counselled 17 students of a school run by the Shaheen Education Society in Bidar in relation to a controversial play against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi made the submission before the division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice P G M Patil, during the hearing of public interest litigation filed by advocate Nayana Jyothi Jhwar and others.
The petitioners have prayed the court to issue directions to the investigation officer to follow the prescribed rules for examination of minors in the criminal investigation and to protect the interest of minors during questioning. They have also sought directions for payment of compensation to the parents or legal guardians of the minors who were examined for the alleged emotional and mental agony. In the statement of objections filed before the court, the state government said that on January 28, 2020, the investigating officer visited the school premises along with the witnesses and seized the Digital Video Recorder (DVR).
“The investigating officer had removed his uniform and worn the civil dress and thereafter requested the school authorities to produce the children who participated in the play along with their class teachers for counseling. However, the authorities refused to send students or teachers out of the school but asked the officer to hold counselling or examination within the the school premises,” the state said.
It also stated that the school authorities provided a visiting room in the school. The investigating officer together with the Child Protection Officer and Special Juvenile Police Unit Member was allowed. Only three children were produced along with respective teachers and one of the parents of the three students.
But the videographer who is also a police constable was in uniform and later he was asked to wear civil dress. The investigation team counselled 17 students along with the teachers and non-staff members of the school and so the investigation team has not violated any rules, it said.
The state also turned down the allegations that the police officers carried the weapon/gun at the time of counselling and said child-friendly environment was created.The state also mentioned that the school management tendered an apology for the play. The bench asked the petitioners to file a reply.
HC notices to Govt, EC over IAS officer’s transfer
Bengaluru: The High Court on Wednesday ordered notices to the state and Election Commission on a PIL questioning the transfer of IAS officer Harsh Gupta as Regional Commissioner. On a petition by the New India Voters Forum, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice P G M Patil said all steps taken subsequent to the draft list of voters published on January 16, 2020 for the Bengaluru Teachers’ Constituency are subject to the petition outcome. The petitioner said that a notification was issued for an election to the constituency on June 20, 2020. The first phase of the draft voters’ list was out on January 16, but the petitioner objected to the anomalies and brought them to Gupta’s notice, who was also the Electoral Registration Officer. As Gupta took up a revision of the rolls, he was transferred.
Court orders closure of waste processing plant
Bengaluru: The High Court on Wednesday ordered the closure of a biomethanisation plant and dry waste collection and transit point at Mahalakshmipuram second phase in Bengaluru as it is operating without permission from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). The division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice P G M Patil passed the order to close the unit within a month and restore the site two months later. The court said that the BBMP can file an application for consent and the KSPCB can consider it in accordance with law. The court passed the order after hearing a PIL filed by the Residents Welfare Association.