Magistrate’s report justifies police action thrashing helpless man, daughter

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the magisterial probe report on the March 3 incident in Tarn Taran, where a girl and her father were beaten up by the Punjab police, as it justified the attack on the duo.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Kurian Joseph told Additional Solicitor-General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the Punjab government, “The report does not have the value more that of a scrap paper and it deserves to be thrown into the dustbin.”

Justice Singhvi said the report was “misleading” and contained “wrong facts.”

The Bench directed the Chandigarh Administration to give the girl protection and security by an agency other than by the Punjab police.

After going through the report, which said “such baton charges do happen,” Justice Singhvi asked the ASG: “Do you not feel ashamed when a lady is beaten up by the police and the State DGP goes on television that very day justifying the action without conducting any enquiry against police officials.”

Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati said it was amazing that the father of the girl was asked to apologise and sign a compromise deal at a police station. Justice Singhvi said it was fortunate that the man was alive today.

Amicus curiae Harish Salve said: “The magistrate's report is atrocious.”

The incident happened when the man and his daughter approached a nearby police picket, after the 22-year-old girl was teased by some men.

The court earlier took suo motu cognisance of news reports on this incident and another in which some women teachers were assaulted in Patna during an agitation.

The Bihar DGP, in an affidavit, said the majority of men and women protesters were cleared from tents without using force. However, towards the end of this process, a few policemen started wielding lathis on men and women who were in still the tents and some of them were hit. “Some sporadic incidents of use of force were apparent.”

The DGP said: “As per information, no injured woman from the crowd has reported in any of the hospitals or to any authority till now. There cannot be any justification or rationale whatsoever for beating either men or women. However, at times when [an] unruly mob indulges in arson, rampage and destruction of public property, use of proportionate force to contain violence may be justified.”

Further hearing is posted to April 11.