Amid outrage over police mercilessly thrashing an unarmed woman in Punjab and teachers in Bihar, the Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of media reports on the incidents, saying they have shocked the conscience of the entire nation.
Taking strong exception to the recent incidents of police beating protesting teachers in Patna and a girl in Tarn Taran in Punjab, the apex court sought explanation from the two states on the conduct of police personnel.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and Ranjana Prakash Desai directed the two state governments to come out with their explanation on Monday about the police brutality which amounts to gross violation of human rights as well as constitutional rights of the people.
The bench expressed anguish over the two incidents and said, "Unfortunately, the administration of the governments of Punjab and Bihar have not taken adequate steps for protecting the people against the wholly unwarranted action taken by the police at Taran Taran and Patna".
"These incidents raise important constitutional issues relating to Article 21 of the Constitution and dignity of individual. We, therefore, feel that it is proper for this court to take congizance of the gross violation of the human rights as well as the constitutional rights of the people, the bench said.
The bench, which took on record media reports about the incidents, asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court and appointed senior advocates Harish Salve and U U Lalit to help out as amicus curiae in dealing with the issue and posted the matter for further hearing on March 11.
"The contents of the news items revealed that members of the Punjab Police and Patna Police have mercilessly beaten an unarmed woman and teachers. Both the incidents have shocked the conscience of the entire nation," the bench said.
On March 4, a woman was thrashed by Punjab Police constables when she had approached them along with her father for lodging a complaint of harassment by a truck driver and his accomplices in Taran Taran district.
In another incident, Bihar Police had yesterday resorted to baton charge and fired tear gas shells during a protest by contractual teachers outside the Assembly in Patna, demanding regularisation of their jobs and pay parity with regular teachers.