Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Court names six policemen for 'parade and pose' stunt

THE GOAN NETWORK | APRIL 03, 2024, 12:42 AM IST

PANAJI

The Bombay High Court at Goa has identified at least 70 vernacular news clips where police officials have been seen with accused persons posing for photographs for media circulation.

Expressing utter dissatisfaction with the non-compliance of directives issued in 2019, a Division Bench of Justice Mahesh Sonak and Justice Valmiki Menezes issued contempt notices to six officers in response to a recent case where these officers were photographed with a mother who was arrested for abandoning her child and in another case, during a drug seizure operation.

The officers summoned to respond to the contempt notices include Superintendent of Police Bossuet Silva, Police Inspectors Nathan Almeida (Fatorda Police Station) and Kapil Nayak (Vasco PS), as well as sub-inspectors Priyanka Naik, Amin Naik, and Akhilesh Khedekar (all from Fatorda PS). The next hearing is scheduled for April 15.

Notably, Superintendent Silva had previously assured compliance with the directives in 2019, while Inspectors Nayak and Naik had been previously reprimanded for parading with a distressed mother.

“All the news items, prima facie, indicate instances of the police officials parading accused persons before the media. In the new items dated March 28, 2024, six police officials are posing with the accused mother, who is made to sit in front of them and her name is disclosed. It is reasonable to infer that it is these police officials who have released the accused mother’s name to the media,” the Bench noted, maintaining these were in violation of the order in a 2019 suo motu PIL.

The Court noted with concern that despite disciplinary action taken against Inspectors Nayak and Naik for a similar offense in the past, they repeated the violation.  

“At least prima facie this appears to be a repeat, even though disciplinary proceedings were initiated against these two police officials and they were punished therein. At least prima facie it appears that neither Court directives nor disciplinary proceedings deter these police officers from resisting the temptation of parading accused persons and posing with them before the media,” the Court remarked.

SP Silva also came under criticism when the Bench noted that he had assured compliance in 2019 but is himself involved in parading the accused. “…then we are sorry to state that there is hardly any compliance with our directions, not to mention the police department’s own circulars,” it stated, adding “Instead of leading from the front to prevent such self-publicity at the cost of dignity and human rights of the accused persons, the SP has himself paraded and posed before the media with the accused persons.”

The High Court Registrar placed not less than 70 news clips from February to March 2024 showing cops parading the accused.

The Court decided to not issue a notice to the Director General of Police Jaspal Singh after Advocate General Devidas Pangam assured the Bench that the top cop was looking into the matter with utmost seriousness. The Court however directed the DGP to submit steps to prevent such ‘parading and posing’ while requesting the AG to “communicate our anguish and order to the DGP.” 


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