VIJAYAWADA: The AP High Court, which took suo-motu cognisance of the alleged police high-handedness against the women protesting the State government’s three-capital proposal in the Amaravati region, has taken a serious view of the issue and directed the advocate general to file a detailed counter.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice JK Maheswari and Justice M Satyanarayana Murthy issued interim directions to the respondents, including the State government and Police department, to protect the fundamental and human rights of individuals.
These interim directions were to allow the public to leave their residences to attend their avocation to eke out their livelihood, to permit the public to demonstrate peacefully, permit them to perform customary/traditional rituals to the village deity/goddess, and not to enter the houses of villagers to conduct searches, except by strictly adhering to procedure contemplated in the CrPC.
Vijayawada Commissioner of Police and SPs of Guntur Rural and Guntur Urban were directed to adhere to the procedure prescribed under Section 46 of the CrPC. They were also directed to hold an enquiry against the police concerned for arrests and illegal detention of the persons in the police stations after sunset.
The State government was directed to provide medical facilities to the persons injured, as appearing in the newspapers and video clippings. Further, the Police department was directed to produce the list of arrested persons immediately before the concerned judicial magistrates as per the law.
The HC directed the Vijayawada Commissioner of Police and SPs of Guntur Rural and Guntur Urban to conduct an inquiry against the police officials who violated the guidelines issued by the SC and failed to adhere to the procedure prescribed under Section 46 of the CrPC and to take action against them. The hearing has been adjourned to January 17.
The Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Home), Principal Secretary (GAD) and the DGP were directed to apprise the court as to why action was not initiated against their subordinates for not maintaining the rule of law.
Vijayawada Commissioner of Police and SPs of Guntur Rural and Guntur Urban, SP of Krishna district, collectors of Krishna and Guntur districts were asked to apprise the court about the imposition of Sec 144 of the CrPC when the villagers were peacefully agitating against the State action. The Bench said it is expected from the galaxy of executive officials to maintain rule of law in the State.
Earlier, the court, which conducted a hearing on various petitions filed by different individuals questioning the action of the State and police officials, and also on a Public Interest Litigation, took up the issue suo motu based on the newspaper reports and video clippings, asked what was happening in the State and whether the chief secretary and DGP knew how to maintain the rule of law Why did advocate general not advise the government, the court asked.
It questioned the way Sec 144 was being implemented and said it was shocking to see NCW and NHRC members visiting the State. Drawing the attention of the advocate general to the police action against women protesters, particularly to a photo published in a newspaper, the court said it was enough to register cases against police for violating Sec 354 (violating self-respect of women).
Pointing out a flag march by 200 policemen, the High Court questioned if there was a curfew in the capital villages and demanded to know how male police personnel could arrest women protesters.