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MP Police not to parade crime suspects or accused following HC orders

Identity, personal information, photographs of suspects not to be made public

arrest-handcuff--760-ani Representative image | ANI

The Madhya Pradesh Police will no longer parade any accused, suspect or arrested person in public following an order of the MP High Court that held such actions as violative of privacy rights under Article 21 of Constitution of India.

The MP additional director general of police (crime investigation department) Kailash Makwana has issued the order related to prohibition on parading of accused, suspect or arrested persons, on November 26.

The order is an extension of an earlier order of MP Police dated November 7 that also prohibits the disclosure of identity and personal information of accused, suspects, arrested persons and victims in any criminal case and publication of their photographs (faces covered or uncovered) in newspapers or any digital platform.

The move by the MP Police comes following the ruling of the Gwalior bench of MP High Court on November 2. The bench of justice G.S. Ahluwalia had then quashed the clauses of a MP Police circular of 2014 related to production of suspects and victims before the media, disclosure of their personal information and displaying of their photographs as being violative of the Article 21 (relating to right to life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution. The court also held parading of the accused (taking out their 'procession' in public) are violative of Article 21.

The order came while hearing the petition filed by a Gwalior-based man who was arrested due to mistaken identity. Following the arrest, his photographs went viral on the social media. The High Court bench held that such action tarnished the image and reputation of the person concerned.

The HC ordered the director general of police (DGP) of MP to instruct all the superintendents of police to ensure that the above actions were not undertaken in any circumstances. The DGP was also asked to ensure that any information on progress of investigation in a criminal case was shared with the media only with due approval of the concerned superintendent of police (SP). The SP of the district was to be personally held responsible for any deviation from this order, apart from the other erring officials, the HC order said.

The practice of parading accused or suspects as well as arrested criminals in public by making them walk through main public places, often accompanied by cops beating them up, was quite common in Madhya Pradesh.

The police logic of such action was that it instilled fear in the mind of criminals, reduced the terror and influence they create among the public and instilled confidence about police. However, often the action was objected to as violative of personal rights of the accused/suspect.

Despite the MP Human Rights Commission earlier recommending stopping this practice, it had continued in the state.

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