Bombay High Court Bashes Extra-Legal Measures for Enforcing Lockdown

The Bombay High Court heard a Public Interest Litigation over the various reports of “unusual and humiliating punishments (extra-legal measures) which are meted out by police personnel; under the garb of enforcing the lockdown directives.”

Advocate Anil Kamale, representing the petitioner, informed the Court that the Police photographed the violators of the nationwide lockdown with them holding placards; declaring them as an enemy of the nation, the society, the family and humanity. Pressing the problem with such extra-legal measures; he added that prominent newspapers published these photographs and went viral on social media since. However, the Government Pleader KS Joshiargued that while such instances did occur in the first phase of lockdown; the police did not publish the humiliating photographs.

Decision By The Court

The Bombay High Court held, “The police personnel who have indulged in a blatant violation of human dignity; they were expected to be alive to our society which is a civilized society, which the rule of law governs. While extraordinary situations may call for extraordinary measures, the measures must have the sanction of law. Human dignity and rights cannot be sacrificed at the altar of extraordinary situations; nor can the constitutional right to a dignified life be hostage to supposed intentions.”

In this regard, Justice Rohit B Deo also emphasised, “the end does not necessarily justify the means.”

Directions to the Police

In view of these observations, the Court directed that the police authorities should not choose extra-legal measures or punishments while enforcing the lockdown.“The police machinery has sufficient power under the provisions of law which would enable strict enforcement of the lockdown directives,” the Court indicated.

“While this Court trusts that the police authorities shall ensure that there shall be no further violation of human rights while enforcing the lockdown; if a single such incident is noticed, this Court expects that the Police Commissioner holds the senior officer; within whose jurisdiction the incident has occurred, accountable”, the Judge added. The HC directed the Commissioner to sensitize the police to “ensure that such immoral incidents do not occur.” In addition to issuing notice, the Court has now requested the Government Pleader; to verify whether the instances the petitioner brought up have occurred or not.

The next hearing on this matter is on May 21.

Ishan Harlalka
Ishan Harlalka
I am a 3rd year law aspirant pursuing BA LLB. I am deeply interested in learning and am always looking forward to gain knowledge about new subjects. In my leisure time, I try to read books of various genres and by different authors. As people from non-law background may find it difficult to understand legal provisions and jargons, I try to write in a way that my articles are easy to comprehend and after reading them, one can discuss them with others.


The case of Aruna Shanbaug that changed the Euthanasia laws...

It is my Belief that death is a friend to whom we should be grateful, for it frees us from the manifold ills which are our lot - Mahatma Gandhi. As human beings, out the umpteen desires that we have, one of them is definitely to have a peaceful death....

Justice D Y Chandrachud’s path-breaking Verdict in the Sabarimala Case of...

“Will the quest for equality and fraternity be denuded of its content where women continue to be treated as children of a lesser god in exercising their liberties in matters of belief, faith and worship? Will the pursuit of individual dignity be capable of being achieved if we deny...

After repealing section 377, its time to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage in...

A draconian, archaic law that criminalized homosexuality was struck down in a historic judgment given by the Supreme Court in 2018. Two years after the judgment, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community has now sought legal recognition of their relationships. As the social stigmas surrounding the LGBTQ...

Modern Day Book Burning a.k.a Internet Shutdowns

The internet has become an indispensable element in our society for all the obvious reasons. For the majority of users, not a single day goes by where we don't 'need' the internet and the lack of a reliable and fast connection can feel paralyzing. An internet shutdown refers to...

Letter to UNHRC – Dr Kafeel Khan, Punished Because He’s Muslim

Kafeel Khan, a doctor by profession and a social activist has been targeted by Yogi Government since 2017, in 3 years he had been maliciously arrested 3 times & imprisoned for around 14 months on the false charges set up against him at many instances. Now he is absolved...

Prison Life In India and its Aftermath

Everyone prays to never see the bars of prison in their lifetime. Yet, as fickle as life is, it is quite hard to predict the future. It is in everyone’s benefit to know a little bit about prison life; for movies and cinemas do not do justice to the...