A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka pointed out that the photographs placed before the court from March last year shows schoolchildren (two boys and a girl) being interrogated by five police personnel — four of them in full uniform and at least two carrying firearms.
The bench noted that deputy superintendent of police Basaveshwar had not dealt with the photographs in his affidavit filed at the same time last year.
What action has been taken against official, asks court
Prima facie this is a serious case of violation of rights of children and provisions of and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act. We direct the state to respond by filing a response stating on record what action has been initiated against the police official who interrogated schoolchildren while wearing uniforms and while carrying firearms,” the bench said.
The court noted that only plain clothes police personnel can interact with children, and where a girl is involved, women personnel should be brought in. It asked the DG and IGP to nominate a higher level officer to look into the violations and file a response by September 3, before the next hearing in the case.
Acting on a complaint filed by an activist, Bidar police had booked a sedition case against the Shaheen group of institutions on January 26 last year over the staging of a play against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) on January 21. One of the girls in the play allegedly uttered an anti-Modi slogan. In March 2020, granting bail to management staffers, a district and sessions court had said there was nothing seditious in the play.
The HC is hearing a PIL filed by advocate Nayana Jyothi Jhawar and South India Cell For Human Rights Education and Monitoring. The petitioners have sought a departmental inquiry and consequential action against police personnel for illegal questioning of minor students of the school. In addition, the petitioners have prayed for grant of compensation to parents or legal guardians of the children who were subjected to illegal questioning.