A court in Assam's Barpeta district on Friday pulled up the state police for lodging a "false FIR" after granting bail to Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani in a case related to the alleged "assault" of a woman police officer,
Hearing the bail petition, Barpeta District and Sessions judge Aparesh Chakraborty also urged the Gauhati High Court to direct the state police force to "reform itself", referring to the slew of police encounters over the last one year.
Mevani was granted bail on a Personal Recognisance (PR) bond of Rs 1,000 in the case filed at the Barpeta Road police station.
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani has got bail from both the cases filed at Kokrajhar & Barpeta stations in #Assam. This is a relief for all his supporters.— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) April 29, 2022
‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ will happen as planned till #JigneshMevani is set free & confirmation of no new fake complaint is received.
He was arrested in this case on Monday for allegedly "assaulting" the woman police officer while he was being brought by a police posse from Guwahati to Kokrajhar.
The court observed that the intent to outrage the modesty of the woman police officer in the presence of two other police officials cannot be held against the accused while he was in their custody and which nobody else had seen.
The judge noted that the high court may consider directing the Assam Police to reform itself to "prevent registration of false FIR like the present case and the police personnel firing and killing or injuring accused which has become a routine phenomenon in the state".
The high court might also consider directing each and every police personnel engaged in law and order duty to wear "body camera, to install CCTV cameras in vehicles while arresting an accused or taking an accused to some place for recoveries of goods or other reasons and also install CCTV cameras inside all police stations", the order said.
"Otherwise our state will become a police state which the society can ill-afford," it added.
The court also directed that the order be submitted to the Registrar General of the high court for placing it before the chief justice to look into this aspect and consider whether the matter can be taken up as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to "curb the ongoing police excesses in the state".
What happened before?
Mevani, a Congress-backed Independent MLA, was picked up by a posse from Assam Police last week from Gujarat and arrested for a purported tweet in which he had claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "considered Godse as God".
After being released on bail in that case on Monday, he was rearrested in the case related to the assault of the woman police officer who was part of the police party which accompanied him to Korkrajhar, a complaint about which was registered in Barpeta.
Mevani's lawyer Angshuman Bora told PTI that he will be first taken to Kokrajhar as certain formalities are yet to be completed, following his bail being granted by the court there.
"He was rearrested immediately after he was granted bail and brought to Barpeta. The formalities in Kokrajhar are yet to be completed," he said.
Mevani is likely to be taken to Guwahati after the completion of those formalities.
In the Barpeta case, he was booked under IPC sections 294 (uttering obscene words in public), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assaulting a public servant in the execution of duty) and 354 (using criminal force to a woman intending to outrage her modesty).
(With PTI Inputs)