In a step towards protecting the basic human rights, the Punjab Police has undertaken a decision that the accused would no longer be paraded before the media.
The officials in the districts, as well as the commissionerates in the state, have informed Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Human Rights.
According to The Indian Express, the department has stated that it would be adopting the directions issued by the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) on July 6, 2020. The commission had issued the directives after a petition was filed by Mohali-based Advocate Nikhil Saraf.
In his petition, Saraf had expressly sought directions to all the police officials to stop the practice of parading the criminals before the media, thereby ensuring the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. He stated that the officials were indulging in practises that was contrary to the directions passed by the Supreme Court and amounted to gross violation of human rights.
Highlighting the concern, the petitioner said that the act was "amounting to blatant transgression into the domain of judiciary, wherein the Punjab Police has given itself the right to adjudicate the crime and declare anyone a criminal" without following due process of law."
"Our Constitution guarantees that an accused is innocent till proven guilty by the courts after following due process of law," he contended.
He pointed out to a number of judgements where the Apex Court had clearly mentioned that parading of accused before media is grossly violative of Article 21 of the Constitution which ensures right to life and liberty including fair trial.
Notably, various states had already come up with a very clear policy on this issue and have issued relevant orders to the respective state police force that no accused shall be paraded before the media.
"The colonial practice to parade accused before media (newspapers and television) as some hunted animal trophy is worst form of abuse of human rights of an individual. The British adopted this practice to ensure that the masses remain fearful and subservient to handful of rulers, and they were very successful in doing so, but this sort of abuse cannot be allowed to carry on in a free India that has placed fundamental rights of its citizens as non negotiable," argued Saraf.