Gujarat High Court Sentences Police for Inhumane Public Flogging of Muslim Men

Landmark Ruling Upholds Human Rights and Dignity in the Face of Police Brutality

In a significant ruling, the Gujarat High Court has sentenced four police officers to 14 days’ imprisonment and a fine of ₹2,000 in a contempt of court case related to the public flogging of Muslim men in Kheda district, Gujarat, in October 2022. The court emphasized that the actions of the police had violated the guidelines set by the Supreme Court regarding arrest and detention.

The court granted a three-month stay on the execution of the sentence after the accused sought time to appeal. This decision came after five victims from the minority community declined monetary compensation from the guilty police officers.

The court condemned the flogging as inhumane and against humanity, stressing that even individuals in police custody have the right to life, including living with dignity. The flogging caused physical torture and humiliation, and the court asserted that a person’s grace cannot be allowed to be compromised, even while in police custody.

The Bench stated that the accused police officers had defiled the human rights and dignity of the complainants, seemingly assuming a privilege to do so. The court also noted that the Supreme Court’s guidelines had been blatantly ignored, with no improvement in the state of affairs.

In October 2022, a group from the Muslim community allegedly pelted stones at a temple during Navaratri festivities, leading to arrests and the subsequent public flogging of some individuals. Videos of the incident had gone viral on social media.

The court refused to accept an unconditional apology from the police officers, stating that an apology could not erase the scars from the victims’ psyche and that getting it would be a travesty of justice. The Bench strongly emphasized that accepting apologies would send the wrong message to society and encourage further inhuman acts.
The court warned that if government officials become law-breakers, it would breed contempt for the law, encourage lawlessness, and lead to anarchy. Quoting Mother Teresa, the Bench asserted that human rights are not a privilege but an entitlement by humanity, not contingent on anyone’s pleasure.

Earlier, the victims had refused to accept monetary compensation from the police officers who had offered it to escape contempt of court punishment. The victims had moved the High Court, seeking accountability for the police officers’ actions, leading to charges against the four accused police officers.

During the hearing, the accused argued that flogging did not amount to custodial torture and proposed settling the dispute through monetary compensation. However, the victims’ decision not to accept the payment led to the court’s ruling.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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