SHIMLA-Maintenance of law and order can only be attained when both law enforcement agency and public co-operate with each other and share a friendly relationship. The police officers, who abuse citizens, erode public confidence in law and government. It only makes the job of honest and well mannered police officers harder. Entire police department shares the credit when they perform well. Likewise, one unmannered and misguided cop is enough to bring embarrassment to entire institute.
Himachal Watcher had published a compilation of videos and reports showing how work culture of Shimla Police is going through eerie transformation since the joining of Mr. DW Negi as Superintendent Police. The SP as well as a particular section of police staff, following the footsteps of their leader, have undertaken task to assist judiciary by being both law enforcement agency as well as judiciary.
Also Read: Shimla Police SHO alleged of beating and abusing informer, locals approach higher officials seeking action
They set up Kangroo courts of their own in public places. However, this dual role, that of an unqualified judge and insensitive policeman, has led to a form of unnecessary mental and physical harassment to public.
So far, male staff including HPS officials had demonstrated misuse of the power vested in their uniform, and were even spotted drunk, creating nuisance. But now, as per the account given by a Shimla youth, some female cops have also joined the bandwagon and adequately complement the current trend in police in the capital. The particular female cop to whom we have referred in this case is allegedly a serial offender. Different sources have recalled similar treatment on encounter with this lady. From bullying drivers to drop her home to setting kangaroo courts, there have been many instance of similar misconduct from this cop.
Before dwelling over account given by the youth, Himachal Watcher again emphasize that we acknowledge the fact that not all police officials are unworthy of wearing uniform. The job of police is one of the most challenging, psychologically stressful and physically hectic and we are grateful for their services.
There are honest and dedicated policemen who discharge their duty within defined legal, moral, and ethical limits. Here, the motive is not to defame the Himachal Pradesh Police Department. The motive is to highlight the “bad fish” that are bringing bad name to Himachal Pradesh Police Department.
In capital Shimla, this misguided section of police staff is enjoying liberty from obligations to their duties, respect to law while discharging their duties, and discipline has become a mockery for them. These “bad fish” mostly include those recruited on approach, by cheating in exam, or paying heavy bribes despite being unworthy.
Before you read the narration of police conduct while dealing with a youth, who recalled it as a wound to his and his father’s dignity and self-esteem as citizens of the state, do read guidelines and rules laid down for police staff while discharging their lawful duty under the Himachal Pradesh Police Service Act 2006, Police Act 1861 (including amendments), and most important, the directions of the Supreme Court. In India, the conflict between Human Rights Commission and police is the result of manipulation and misuse of powers provided to police.
Rule of Law Must Prevail
According to contents of these Acts and SC directions, no one is above law, not even police or judges themselves. Rule of law and justice must prevail in democracy to maintain healthy social environment and equality to all citizens. It is the court who is authorized by law to undertake the job of establishing guilt of an accused and, if found guilty in fair trial, sentencing the offender to a penalty or other punishments prescribed under Constitution of India. In simple words, even the judges can’t arbitrarily decide punishment. Rather, they are, too, bound to adhere to what is prescribed in law for a particular offence.
The directions from SC further emphasize that in securing the observance of law or in maintaining order, the police should, as far practicable, use the methods of persuasion, advice, and warming.
Further, according to Supreme Court’s guidelines to the entire institution of police in India, police should always be courteous and well-mannered. They should be dependable and impartial. They should possess dignity and courage and should cultivate character and the trust of the people.
In matters of use of physical force, the directions say that, when, the application of force becomes inevitable, only the irreducible minimum amount of force required under the circumstance should be used.
Limitation on Powers of Police
Police is directed to discharge its duty strictly in the way the law lays down and not any other way. They cannot act just as they wish or want to. Any abuse of power or negligence of duty will amount to a breach of discipline, civil wrong or a crime and the officer is liable to be punished.
In fact, because police officer is a person entrusted with upholding the law he/she should be punished more severely for breaking it, says SC directions and the Police Service Act.
A Shimla youth approached Himachal Watcher and told his alleged horrific experience during an encounter with a female cop accompanied by two other cops. The youth was left bewildered witnessing live demonstration that female police staff has far more power to victimize people to defend their ego. And this is because she is a female and threats like fake case of misbehavior is quite effective in deterring will of people who dare to object to their mistreatment or demand due respect for their constitutional rights.
As per the youth, who is (indeed) an educated and aware citizen, out of habit, used “English Words” while raising objections against police misconduct. But, the cop counted it as her insult and declared it punishable under rules of her own. She denied providing information to the complainant when he asked her to show her nameplate.
Faced with educated people who are aware of their rights and limits of police powers are headache for miscreant cops. From the allegation, it appears that this female cop serving in Shimla Police do not hesitate to create scenes on one of the most hateful themes – misbehavior with a female by a male in a male-dominated society. It’s a crucial matter and superior officials of the HP Police Department must take note of it.
As alleged by the youth, who is resident of Shimla, on Thursday afternoon at around 2:00 ‘O’clock he drove his car to the Secretariat at Chotta Shimla. While waiting for his father’s return from the Secretariat, he parked his car on roadside near Vishal Mega Mart. He was sitting in the car, waiting for his father’s return when three female cops arrived and smashed challan book on his bonnet, he alleged. The youth, as everyone usually does, appealed them not to challan as he was ready to move the vehicle. He also pleaded that he is a local and was aware as well as careful about not creating obstruction to traffic.
The response from one of the cops, in exact words, was reported by youth to be following:
“Kya Matlab hai local Ka! Local ho to kuch bhi karoge?”
(क्या मतलब है लोकल का! लोकल हो तो कुछ भी करोगे?)
The youth further pleaded that he was present in the car keeping in mind the traffic trouble Shimla faces. The youth (sadly) talked about his right to at least one warning before initiating official action or issue challan. The reply from cops, as per the yout, was
“Tu law sikhayega merko? Tu hai kon?”
(तू लॉ सिखायेगा मेरको? तू है कौन?)
Second cop added, “SHO Sahab aane wale hain tun yahi reh, Tujhe wo khud batayenge!”
(साहब आने वाले हैं तूं यही रह, तुझे वो खुद बताएँगे)
To avoid all such trouble, “I immediately started my car and tried to move it,” said the youth. “She put her hands on my car keys and attempted to snatch them from me,” he further alleged.
When the youth objected to it and said that they can challan him but cannot snatch the car key in such rude manner, the cop said “Isko ander karo. SHO aur SP sahab ko phone karo.”
(इसको तो अंदर करो! एसपी साहब को फ़ोन करो!)
One of the cops called the SHO, who advised him to be silent and to not argue with (female) cops. The SHO Mr. Negi was polite and suggested me, “Is constable ke sath behas na karo! Aap museebat me pad jaoge”
(इस कांस्टेबल के साथ बहस न करो! आप मुसीबत में पड़ जाओगे)
Meanwhile, my father arrived at the scene and requested them to not complicate the matter. However, the female cop did not stop.
“Battameez saala! Thappad maarungi tujhe (बत्तमीज़ साला! थप्पड़ मारूँगी तुझे)),” she continued in a highly uncivilized language, alleged the youth.
The youth objected, “Ma’am, I am not a murderer or a thief that you are talking to me like this. Her language further degenerated. “Saale tu to shakal se he gunda lag rha hai (साले तू तो शक्ल से ही गुंडा लग रहा है),”she started shouting publically.
When the youth objected to defamatory comments and warned the cops that he would file a complaint to superiors regarding such misbehavior and mistreatment while on duty, she said,
“Ander karo isko ! Thaane le chalo! Gaadi ko clamp karke thaane le chalo ! Isko aaj sabak sikhate hain!” (अंदर करो इसको ! थाने ले चलो! गाडी को क्लैंप करके थाने ले चलो ! इसको आज सबक सिखाते हैं)
“Ye angrejji kisi or ko mariyo jo dar jaaye tujhse ! Merko ni sunani!”, she kept shouting. (ये अंग्रेजी किसी और को मारियो जो डर जाए तुझसे! मेरको नी सुनानी)
When the youth asked the cop to show her name plate as he wanted to file a complaint name, the cops said, “Kya karega naam se tu? Nahi batati kar le jo karna”! ( क्या करेगा नाम से तू? नहीं बताती कर ले जो करना)
The father of the youth consistently requested to them to stop bullying and making false allegation. He told him to take move the car on which the youth drove the car towards Navbahar, said the youth.
“After 15 minutes, when I was on my way back towards Chotta Shimla, the cops started shouting something as the car passed by. I stopped the car so that I could hear them clearly,” the youth further told.
The youth decided to stop at the Chota Shimla Police Station to complaint regarding the mental harassment to which he was exposed by female cops.
The SHO Mr.Negi paid attention to his complaint and offered to to him and his father. However, he again adviced him, “Apko nahi behesna chahiye! Ye jo bhi bol rahe hain chup chap sunte or nikal jaate!” (आपको नहीं बहसना चाहिए! ये जो भी बोल रहे हैं चुप चाप सुनते और निकल जाते!)
“Agar ye apki kuch galat report kar dete being ladies to ap kya kar loge. Lady bolde k mere kapde faad diye to samjho aap to samjho aap fans gaye,” the SHO said with concern. (अगर ये आपकी कुछ गलत रिपोर्ट कर देते बीइंग लेडीज तो आप क्या कर लोगे! लेडी बोल दे क मेरे कपड़े फाड़ दिए तो समझो आप तो समझो आप फंस गए!)
The youth pleaded that he is a responsible citizen and there is no history of involvement in any sort of anti-social activities or crimes and that he doesn’t deserve such treatment from police.
Meanwhile, the three cops entered the police station and created hue and cry and made false allegations of misbehavior along with other serious allegations.
When the youth objected and tried to defend himself, the female cop threatened, “Ek Thappad marungi tujhe… (एक थप्पड़ मारूँगी तुझे)
To the SHO, she boasted, “Maine to maar bhi dena tha ! Ye to in dono ne mujhe rok liya nai to main nai darti kisi se” (मैंने तो मार भी देना था ! ये तो इन दोनों ने मुझे रोक लिया नै तो मैं नै डरती किसी से)
“Eventually, I was left with no alternate but to apologize to the cops. I confess it was the most fake apology I ever made in my entire life. My conscience didn’t allow me to speak the words of apology, but watching my father getting distressed, I did it,” the youth said.
While, we mere report the narrative provided by the complainant, there is no doubt about it that some miscreants in uniform have earned bad name for Shimla Police as well as for HP Police Department.
Lack of worthy leadership is leading to degrading and despicable practices in police functioning, which are condemnable in strongest terms. Police is supposed to discharge their duty without fear or favour, malice or vindictiveness. The cops are supposed to make citizens feel safer. The police must not resort to mistreatment and bullying. When a citizen, irrespective of his economic or social status, raises objections or reminds cops of his/her rights as citizen of a democratic state, the police must not count is as their insult. Police must maintain respect for individual dignity of every citizen unless and until the situation doesn’t require impolite, harsh measure. We also urge the people to co-operate the police in maintain law and order in the society.
A copy of this complaint will be forwarded to the superior officials of the HP Police department to take note of “bad fish” threatening police’s reputation and trust in people.
India’s Revised Vaccination Policy and Supreme Court’s Role Behind This Change in Approach
Shimla-Free vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age would be available from 21st June onwards, the Government of India announced yesterday. The Centre has also announced that private hospitals would not be able to levy arbitrary charges for vaccination and the rate would be fixed. The government also rolled back its policy for procurement of vaccines, which was under heavy criticism not only from the opposition but also from the Supreme Court of India.
Though, the Centre claimed that the roll-back was a result of the demands raised by state governments, but some believe this decision came right after harsh judicial scrutiny of the government’s previous policy by the Supreme Court, whose initiation is being lauded by the citizens of India amid this pandemic.
“Many states came forward with a demand for reconsideration of the vaccination strategy and for bringing back the system that was there before 1st May,” the Centre said while defending the rollback.
Also, the Centre was even objecting to the court’s jurisdiction in matters related to policymaking and had termed it as an encroachment on the jurisdiction of the executive. However, very mindful of its jurisdiction, the court had mitigated this allegation of the Centre by explaining how policymaking is subject to judicial scrutiny. The court made the Centre aware of the ‘dialogic judicial review’, where the Court can question the executive and demand justifications from it over non-conformity of a policy to the constitutional rights.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court had grilled the Union government over its faulty and discriminatory policy as states were left on their own for the procurement of vaccines. In its orders passed on May 31, a bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat came down heavily upon the central government. The bench had termed the policy approach as “arbitrary and irrational” because it did not provide free vaccination for the 18-44 year age group. The bench had sought clarification on policy and dual pricing in which states were being made to procure vaccines directly from the manufactures and were invariably paying more for vaccines while the Centre procured the same vaccines at lower rates.
“Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we are now faced with a situation where the 18-44 age group also needs to be vaccinated, although priority may be retained between different age groups on a scientific basis. Hence, due to the importance of vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group, the policy of the Central Government for conducting free vaccination themselves for groups under the first 2 phases, and replacing it with paid vaccination by the State/UT Governments and private hospital for the persons between 18-44 years is prima facie arbitrary and irrational” a bench observed while passing an order on May 31, 2021 concerning a Suo moto case on “Re-Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic”.
Further, the court had also expressed concerns over the digital divide which would make accessing vaccine equally difficult for a large section through online registration.
Earlier, in its orders passed on April 30, the bend had observed that this policy approach would be “detrimental to the right to life and health”. The bench had also observed that this policy requires rethinking, as it needs to be formulated in conformity with the provisions of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
The bench aggressively went on to order the government to share all details of the vaccine purchase and distribution, as well as provide information on how the budget allocated for the vaccination (₹35,000 Crores ) was used.
Provisions of the New Vaccination Policy
- Procurement of 25 per cent vaccinations which was earlier with states will now be undertaken by the Government of India.
- The government of India will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccines produced and will provide it to the states free of cost. No state government would be spending anything on vaccines.
- The system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue. Private hospitals can’t charge more than 150 rupees service charge over the decided price of the vaccines.
The Centre said that this policy would be rolled out in two weeks.
“In two weeks, the Centre and states will make necessary preparations as per new guidelines,” the Centre announced yesterday.
Till today, more than 23 Crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
To ward off the embarrassment caused by such a contentious policy which was not conforming with the constitutional rights of the citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without referring to the judicial review, blamed it on the state governments.
“As the corona cases started declining, questions arose about the lack of choice for states and some people questioned why the Central government is deciding everything,” he said.
“India’s vaccination program was run mostly under the Central government. Free vaccination for all was moving forward and people were showing discipline in getting vaccinated when their turn came, amid all these demands for decentralization of vaccination were raised, the decision about priority to certain age groups was raised. Many types pressures were exerted and certain sections of media took it as a campaign,” the PM said.
But with that being said the role of the judiciary in making the government roll back its policy in the interest of the people is being lauded as the victory of judicial review. Also, it has attracted positive response for the apex court which was being alleged of evading several matters related to the public interest under the pressure from the current political regime.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana Extended Till Deepawali.
In another major announcement, the Central government announced the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali.
As per the announcement, till November, 80 crore people will continue to get a decided amount of free food grain every month.
Wah Re Corona: Himachali Folk Artist’s Lyrical Satire is Factual Rendition of India’s Agonizing Catastrophe
Shimla-Otherwise blatantly vocal and distinctively mass-mobilizing government of India is suddenly in the most subdued self after its proclaimed victory over the deathly virus; participation in uncontrolled election rallies; and permitting maha melas. The stalwarts are in the hiding, while helpless citizens – who voted them into power not once but in landslide victories twice – are dying due to lack of oxygen, poor – unavailable – medical facilities, and the denial stance of the ignorant in the helm.
Drawing a comparison between the fatal coronavirus and the mismanagement of the entire situation by the appalling government; a Himachali folk artist has released a factually appropriate lyrical satire that will tickle your mind and leave you to imagine what has brought this catastrophe onto us. The song is written by Rameshwar Sharma and music by Lalit Sauta.
With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government may not have imposed restrictions on tourist movement, but the industry is facing the heat of second wave of coronavirus pandemic, which has now reached an alarming level. Alarmed by massive spike in new cases and fatalities, Delhi yesterday imposed a curfew for six days.
Further, with neighboring states including Panjab and Haryana going into a lockdown-like situation with the imposition of weekend curfews, tourist influx in Himachal Pradesh has dropped drastically, hitting the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh. Last weekend the hotels claimed the occupancy was almost zero. The hoteliers and other stakeholders said the current situation is similar to what they faced during the lockdowns last year. After lockdowns spoiled the peak tourist season of the last year, the industry is hardly in a position to take another blow, hoteliers said.
Conditions in Himachal are no better. In 19 days of April month alone, the state has recorded over 14,000 cases and the infection has claimed 155 lives, which is a massive surge in a very short duration. The rates of the surge in new cases and fatalities have also been recorded to be much higher as compared to the previous year.
The state government on Monday said that all educational institutions of the State would remain close till May 1 2021, and faculty of schools, colleges and universities wouldn’t have to come to duty.
The State Government also decided to put a complete ban on transfers of field functional staff.
Right after getting a nod from the Centre, the state government had also postponed the board and UG examinations. Further, the HP Board of School Education is reportedly mulling over promoting class 10 students.
Chief Minister on Monday also said that the government could take more decisions to contain the spread in the meeting to be held on April 22. Some media reports said that the state government has hinted at the imposition of a curfew. While interacting to media yesterday, Chief Minister had also said that there are no plans for a complete lockdown, but if the situation continues to worsen, a curfew can be imposed. The Chief Minister had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort as it would hurt the tourist influx, thus, cause economic damages.
However, if the businessmen and hoteliers are to be believed, currently keeping the state open for tourism is hardly providing any relief. Moreover, they are not able to differentiate between a curfew and lockdown. They have begun to seek relief from the state government.
On the other hand, in case the state decides to impose a curfew, the situation would get quite difficult for the poor, especially migrant workers, daily wagers, and small street-side vendors too.
Further, fear of the collapse of health infrastructure haunts the state as the government is still in the phase of passing directions to the officers to enhance the bed capacity in the hospitals. As per the statement given by Chief Minister on Monday, the state is yet to take steps to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and staff.
“Steps would be taken to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and medical staff in the State. Bed capacity would be enhanced in Nerchowk Medical College, IGMC Shimla, Zonal Hospital Dharamshala, Tanda Medical College, Sunder Nagar Hospital and various other hospitals. Health workers would be posted in appropriate number for the care of Covid-19 patients,” Chief Minister said.
Chief Minister is being condemned for not completing make-shifts hospitals during the lockdown period along with strengthening the health services the way the it was required.
With the re-notification of Shimla’s DDU hospital- one of the busiest in the state- as a dedicated COVID care hospital, the OPDs has been closed. With the ongoing surge in new cases, more hospitals are likely to be re-notification as dedicated COVID care hospitals, and regular OPDs would be closed for other daily patients.
Moreover, for setting bad examples for the people, all political parties and their leaders, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, had faced severe criticism over blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols during campaign rallies for the elections to the Municipal Corporations. As a result, the public is hardly taking the second wave seriously and lowering their guards against the infections, which is only worsening the situation.
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