A complaint has been filed before the National Human Rights Commission, seeking appropriate action against the Mumbai Police for allegedly violating the human rights of BJP sympathizer, Sameet Thakkar, arrested recently for making derogatory remarks against CM Uddhav Thackeray and his son, State Minister Aaditya Thackeray.
The complaint has been filed by Advocate Siddharth Shankar Dubey, alleging that a video has surfaced on the internet, shared by Thakkar’s bother, whereby Mumbai Police can be seen dragging Thakkar by a rope, with his head sheathed with a black cloth for tweeting Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray.
The incident is alleged to have occurred on 24th October 2020, when Thakkar was remanded to 4-days Police custody by a Nagpur Court, for alleged commission of offences under Sections 292, 500 of the IPC and Section 67 of the IT Act for tweeting Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray.
Thakkar, who has 59,000 followers on Twitter and is followed by some prominent government functionaries on the social media platform, was arrested from Rajkot on October 24 over his posts pf Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray.
On July 2, FIRs for posting Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray were registered against Thakkar at Mumbai’s VP Road police station and in Nagpur.
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According to FIRs, Thakkar is accused of tweeting Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray and his son and Energy Minister Nitin Raut. Thakkar had allegedly made derogatory remarks by posting a photo of Uddhav and Aaditya in two of his tweets on June 1 and 30, while on July 1, he tweeted against Raut.
On Friday, the Nagpur court had extended Thakkar’s police custody till November 2. Earlier that day, he was taken to a court with his face covered with a black cloth in a video released by his family. Speaking to ANI, his brother Rishi Thakkar had alleged he was being treated the way hardcore terrorists are treated.
“It is a violation of human rights by police as my brother’s hands were tied and face was covered with black cloth when he was brought to court. They are treating him the way hardcore terrorist is treated,” Rishi had said.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Varun Gandhi came out in his defense and alleged that the action taken by the Maharashtra government against him was dangerous for democracy, besides being illegal. He had termed the treatment meted out to Thakkar as ‘inhuman, illegal and immoral’, reeking of totalitarianism and fascism. He also said that this kind of action (by the government) in case of handcuffing in Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackerayweakens the nation and is dangerous for democracy and dialogue.
Emphasizing that “compulsive handcuffing” of accused persons by escorts is disapproved by the Apex Court of the country, the Complainant has stated that the actions of the Mumbai Police are objectionable and unlawful.
He has thus sought an action against the errant Police officials under Section 200 of IPC— Commitment for trial or confinement by person having authority who knows that he is acting contrary to law.
The Complainant has pointed out that as per the Supreme Court’s verdict in Prem Shankar v. Delhi Administration, Handcuffs are to be used only if a person is:
- involved in serious non-bailable offences,
- has been previously convicted of a crime; and/or
- is of desperate character- violent, disorderly or obstructive; and/or
- is likely to commit suicide; and/or
- is likely to attempt escape.
Thus, the question which arises for the Commission’s consideration is whether, handcuffing via ropes and sheathing the face with black cloth is permissible if a person is accused under Sections 292, 500 of IPC and Section 67 of the IT act in case of Derogatory Remarks Against CM Uddhav Thackeray.
In this regard, the Complainant has submitted that “Defamation being a bailable offence and the victim exhibiting no signs of the traits mentioned in the directives disapproves the act done by Maharashtra Police.“
It is contended that the impugned actions of the Mumbai Police are contrary to the principles laid down by the UN General Assembly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, which focuses on human dignity and deprecates imparting of degrading treatment to any human being.
Further, it is submitted that the Police could not have handcuffed Thakkar, without taking permission from the concerned Magistrate, as ordered by the Supreme Court in Citizens For Democracy v. State Of Assam, 1995 SCC 743.