By Advocate Sanjeev Sirohi
Published on: 31 August 2023 at 15:18 IST
At the very outset, I must thank Hon’ble Dr OP Sharma Sir who is the former President of Meerut Bar Association and also an eminent criminal lawyer well known even in the Supreme Court and known all over India for his sharp legal acumen and impeccable credentials for most graciously sharing in advocates group in Meerut the most vital letter in which the Supreme Court Bar Association have expressed full solidarity with the lawyers of Hapur Bar Association due to which I am able to contribute this, I must say this with a sense of contentment that words cannot be ever adequate to see that the Supreme Court Bar Association and so also the Allahabad High Court Bar Association and so also UP Bar Council are all speaking in one and the same voice of standing fully, firmly and finally with the lawyers of Hapur Bar who just recently on August 29, 2023 had been made the brutal and prime target of unprovoked lathicharge by the police which is definitely most condemnable and deserves to be strongly condemned in the most strongest parliamentary language and guilty police personnel must definitely be punished most strictly and sent behind the bars for what they have done is the worst assault on lawyers and on judiciary as lawyers are the officers of the Court constitute the most vital pillar of judiciary and even police personnel cannot ever afford to dare to take them for granted.
It must be certainly mentioned here without fail that while rising up to the occasion, the Supreme Court Bar Association in its resolution SCBA/EC.2023-24/292 dated August 30, 2023 as shared by Hon’ble Dr OP Sharma Sir in advocates group in Meerut has certainly been most unequivocal in observing without mincing any words that, “The Supreme Court Bar Association strongly condemns the inhumane and violent act of police on advocates in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, where the women advocates were also not spared from the brutality. The lathi charge on the advocates, who were protesting peacefully against the alleged high-handedness of the police, is a clear violation of their rights and the rule of law. The Supreme Court Bar Association will not tolerate any attack on the prestige of advocates and in pursuance, demands that the Uttar Pradesh Government shall take immediate steps to:
- Investigate the incident and bring the guilty police officers to justice.
- Censure the police officers responsible for the lathi charge.
- Pay compensation to the injured advocates.
- Take measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
- Introduce and implement the Advocates Protection Act for protection of advocates and its families against such brutal incidents.
- Take steps to improve the law and order situation in the State and to ensure that the police personnel are accountable for their actions.
The Supreme Court Bar Association also calls upon the Bar Council of India and all other State Bar Councils to take necessary steps to protect the rights of advocates and to ensure that they are able to discharge their duties without fear of intimidation or harassment.
The Supreme Court Bar Association stands in solidarity with the advocates of Hapur and pledges to do everything in its power to ensure that justice is served.”
It must be said before stating anything else that the raw, reprehensible and ruthless manner in which the police in a most high voltage drama had mercilessly all of a sudden started lathi charging the lawyers raining lathis even on women lawyers in the court premises itself in Hapur district in Western UP on August 29, 2023 after they were returning from a peaceful protest is bone chilling and has caught the entire nation by shock, awe and disbelief!
It must also be mentioned here that in the lathicharge we saw how about more than 30 lawyers got injured badly and former President of Hapur District Bar – Mr Ajit Chaudhary also got seriously injured in the police lathicharge which cannot be justified on one pretext or the other by anyone! It was but natural that the lawyers of Hapur Bar Association have gone on indefinite strike in protest against the most horrifying attack on lawyers by the police in Hapur!
The billion dollar question is:
- How can police ever dare to ruthlessly lathicharge lawyers as if they were some illiterate people who were protesting without any rhyme or reason on road and there also no police personnel has the unfettered right to rain lathis without giving them an opportunity to disperse?
- How can the legal rights of none other than the lawyers themselves be not just transgressed but trampled upon by the men in police uniform themselves with impunity?
- How can such men in police uniform who dared to lathicharge lawyers without any provocation from the lawyers be allowed to continue in service and not be sent behind bars for their most despicable, dastardly and derisive act in which so many lawyers got badly injured! What if some lawyer had died on the spot because of such lathicharge?
To recapitulate and for the uninitiated, it certainly must be mentioned first and foremost that the lawyers of Hapur district were protesting peacefully in the Tehsil Chauraha against the registration of a fake case against a woman lawyer named Priyanka Tyagi and her father after the vehicle of Priyanka accompanied with her father collided with a vehicle of a police cop named Mohit on August 26, 2023.
While protesting against it, we saw how without any reason and without any provocation of any kind from the lawyers, the police purportedly indulged in suddenly lathi-charging the lawyers at the alleged directions of a CO after a verbal exchange of words between the police and the protesting lawyers due to which many advocates sustained minor to severe injuries as advocates did not get time to even fled!
How can lawyers who are officers of the court be treated so shabbily by the police and yet escape with impunity? So it was but natural that the lawyers all across the State in Uttar Pradesh are certainly most agitated and are brewing in huge resentment and unpacified anger about this most unsavoury incident in Hapur and have unitedly boycotted work in court premises!
The billion dollar question that really arises here is:
Why unlike Army we see that Centre never even cares to seriously deliberate on launching “Agniveer Yojana” for the police also so that they cannot rest and take their service for granted as we see also? If this cannot be done then to say the very least why do we see that the police personnel are not made more accountable when they indulge in using excessive use of force? Why are they allowed to get away just by being transferred to some other place when they indulge in gross violations of human rights not sparing even lawyers and doctors what to talk about the rest?
The moot question here is:
Why should the police not be jailed at least for a few years when they resort to unprovoked lathicharge as we have seen most recently in Hapur itself? It is high time and both the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh State Government must take most decisive steps in this direction to ensure that a permanent cure is done so that the police becomes more dedicated, determined and disciplined to serve in the manner in which they are expected to!
This is more imperative than ushering in reforms in any other field and last but not the least Centre must ponder that why should police be left untouched, unattended and unredressed which is the most crucial part in ensuring the smooth law and order in all over the nation and we all know that all is not well with our police and it is not just the common person but even those in black coats who are “officers of the court” and yet are so scornfully treated by police?
Of course, a band-aid treatment for a deep wound is no solution and it is high time that Centre wakes up to realize that it has certainly grievously erred by never caring to usher in police reforms which is so desperately needed since last so many years and instead Centre has brought in Army reforms suddenly which our Apex Court never advocated and which no one had demanded and so also reforms in IPC, The Indian Evidence Act and The Code of Criminal Procedure but police has been shockingly left totally untouched! How long will Centre turn its face away from this unpalatable truth? How long will Centre keep dilly-dallying on police reforms without any prima facie cause as we have been seeing since last so many decades and not take any firm and decisive steps as are so urgently needed in the case of police reforms?
On a concluding note, the lawyers all across Uttar Pradesh and even elsewhere are entirely numbed to see how ruthlessly the police had dared to indulge in unprovoked ruthless lathicharge due to which so many lawyers in Hapur suffered many serious injuries. Of course, it is high time and certainly Centre must now without forwarding any puerile excuses take some most decisive and tangible steps on ushering in police reforms without any more further delay as it can no longer be put on the backburner! Let’s fervently hope so!
I still am shaking my head in disbelief that how can lawyers be beaten so ruthlessly by the police as if they were goondas! I am too shell shocked even now and am falling completely short of words to describe how hurt I am to see how brazenly, belligerently, brutally and blindly the police were lathicharging lawyers without even bothering about how much it was hurting them! It must be definitely said without mincing any words whatsoever that the most horrifying and the most horrendous manner in which the police in Hapur was indulging in unprovoked lathicharge and that too of none other than the lawyers themselves without any grave provocation is undoubtedly most shocking indeed and to say the very least cannot be allowed to go unhindered, unpunished and unaccounted for!
In sum, it is most heartening to note that the Supreme Court Bar Association and so also others have all rallied behind the lawyers of Hapur who were subjected to the most shocking, ghastly and dastardly attack by lathicharging them by none other than the police personnel themselves for which they deserve to be tried and punished in accordance with law.
The lawyers of Hapur and so also lawyers of West UP and so also the lawyers of Allahabad High Court and other regions are all speaking in one voice in demanding the strictest action against the erring police personnel so that no one dares to ever take lawyers legal rights for granted so casually as we saw most unfortunately in this leading case! There can be no gainsaying that this definitely requires prompt redressal and cannot be put on the backburner any longer! No denying it!