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Ensure police do not parade accused before print, electronic media: HC

Panaji: The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday directed the state government and director general of police to ensure that the police officials do not parade the accused persons before the print and electronic media or pose for photographs with accused persons as it shows disregard for human rights, right to privacy and right to live with dignity of accused persons.

The High Court had taken up suo motu cognisance of police personnel posing with a woman arrested for abandoning her newborn child.

The High Court division bench, comprising Justice M S Sonak and Justice Nutan D Sardessai, observed, “We hold that the action of the respondent Nos 3 and 4, police personnel in parading the accused mother before the electronic and print media or in posing for photographs alongwith the accused mother before the print and electronic media, are acts, without authority of law and in fact in breach of office note dated January 16, 2015, office memorandum dated April 1, 2010, advisory dated February 26, 2019 and the decision taken on May 8, 2019. Such acts amount to violation of human rights of the accused mother. Such acts amount to violation of right to privacy and right to live with dignity guaranteed to the accused mother under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Accordingly, the acts of the respondent Nos 3 and 4 are hereby deprecated.”

The High Court also observed that the state government, as undertaken before this Court, should issue necessary guidelines dealing with the interaction between the police officials and media, if necessary by making suitable modification to the proposed guidelines tendered in the course of these proceedings. That this exercise be completed within a period of six weeks and compliance report is to be filed by Director General of Police latest by January 6, 2020.

The High Court observed that “in this suo motu public interest litigation, we are mainly concerned with the following two aspects of the matter- (i) The welfare of three minor children, including the welfare of newborn child, who was alleged to be abandoned by the parents; (ii) Virtual parading of the mother by the police officials before the print as well as the electronic media, in prima facie violation of the accused mother’s human rights, rights to privacy and dignity, as guaranteed by the Constitution

of India.”

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