BOMBAY POLICE ACT: A TALIBANIZATION OF BOMBAY

by tybmmjourno

BOMBAY POLICE ACT: A TALIBANIZATION OF BOMBAY

I’ve been in Bombay since two years. I’ve formed a lovely group of friends and now I am dying to go clubbing. But I am petrified! Why? The Bombay police.

The police have become the hooligans in Bombay. They use the BOMBAY POLICE ACT (1951) to extract money from and torment the people of Bombay.

On Saturday night, (21st July 2012) a girl and her brother were thrashed for arguing on the road. The girl (26) a lawyer, her brother and their two male friends were celebrating the girl’s birthday at a Lower Parel restaurant. They were returning home, when they stopped the car outside a housing society near Ruparel College to drop a friend when trouble started. The girl and her brother were having a minor argument when a police vehicle stopped near their car. The cops in plain clothes questioned them. The group showed them their liquor permits and asked the cops for their badges. This is when the cops flew into a rage. They abused the youngsters and thrashed the girl and her brother. The police taunted the group on their drunken state, commented on the girl’s clothes, but when she protested Sub Inspector D R Bane slapped her. The slap damaged her left ear and eye and gave a cut on her lip. The group was then shoved into the police vehicle. The cops clicked the girl’s pictures on their cell phones at the police station, when she protested, she was slapped again. A friend of mine was standing outside our hostel with her boyfriend at 5 am in the morning. She was waiting for the gates to open. Suddenly the plain clothed cops arrived and questioned her in a manner that made her feel like a slutt. Why are the Bombay police being so bad to the youth?

The group at Ruparel College were booked under section 110 of the Bombay police act. The act says,” no person shall willfully or indecently expose his person ill any street or public place, whether from any house or building or not use any indecent language or behave indecently or riotously or in a disorderly manner in a street or place of public resort or in any office station or station house.”

Firstly this act is replete with provisions from the pre- independence Indian police act. It allows tremendous independence to police officers, constables to decide what is offensive language or behaviour. This freedom, of random interpretation of the term “indecent”, has led to use of the law to harass citizens.

Secondly it involves less paperwork and no registration of the first information report, which is precisely why cops prefer this act over the others to book people, as they can get away easily. Legal experts rightly point out that the act is subjective and needs to be updated.

Talking about the21st July incident, I really wonder what was indecent in the group’s behaviour. There is no mention of use of foul language in the duo’s argument. When asked the reason of the arrest, the police said, “Look at the situation, a young woman, three men, all drunk. They were drunk and arguing on the road, isn’t that indecent?

So what if a girl was young and was with three men?  How is that indecent? Even if they were drunk they had their permits. They were arguing and not smooching. What was the reason to round them up? If the police thought it to be indecent, they could have just shut them up, driven them away from the spot and ended the matter.  There was absolutely no reason to raise a hand on them.

A senior counsel when asked to opine on the matter said, “The police could have doubted whether they were actually brother and sister. But whatever their misgivings, such use of force is unwarranted”. My point is that even if the “brother” was the boyfriend of the woman, there is absolutely nothing questionable about it. Women cannot be escorted by their fathers (or brothers) everywhere.

According to me the police officers involved should be booked for indecency towards the woman and physical assault against her and her brother. Thankfully, the minister of state for home, Satej Patil has asked for a review into the act. I strongly feel the Bombay police act must be relooked into and reformed immediately. It must be transformed into an objective act with precise rules and definitions, for the fair treatment and protection of young citizens.

 

S. TANUJA. SURENDRA

TY.BMM

SOPHIA COLLEGE

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