Police were not in uniform while questioning Bidar students: Govt.

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

‘Deputy Superintendent of Police was in uniform when he conducted spot mahazar’

The State government on Wednesday told the High Court of Karnataka that police investigation team was not in uniform when counselling/questioning the students of Shaheen School in Bidar in connection with a sedition case registered against the school management for allegedly enacting a play, using schoolchildren, to incite people to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and to give negative opinion on laws enacted by Parliament.

A statement in this regard was filed before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar during the hearing of a PIL petition, filed by city-based advocate Nayana Jyothi Jhawar and the South India Cell For Human Rights Education and Monitoring, an NGO.

The statement was in response the query made by the court during a previous hearing that whether the police were in uniform when they had questioned the students in connection with the case.

The government also stated that the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bidar, was in uniform when he conducted spot mahazar and other investigation process on the school premises but he was in plain clothes when he counselled/questioned 17 students — seven who had participated in the play and 10 who had watched the play.

The district child protection officer and the special juvenile justice unit member, a few staff members of the school, and a parent were present when the students were counselled/questioned in the visiting room on the school premises as the school management declined to send the students for counselling/questioning outside the school, the government stated while pointing out that police videographer, who was in uniform initially on the first day of counselling/questioning of students, was asked to change the clothes.

Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi, to a query by the Bench, said the investigation officer was not proposing to counsel/question any more students of the school. The A-G also informed the court that petitioners’ claim about the police questioning students in uniform appears to be based on newspaper reports while stating that the investigation was carried out by following the police manual and the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Rules.

The Bench adjourned the hearing till March 9 while asking the petitioners to file response to the government’s claims.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 6:07:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/police-were-not-in-uniform-while-questioning-bidar-students-govt/article30864664.ece

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