The Director-General (DG) and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) have been directed by the Karnataka High Court on Monday to issue a circular to all police personnel in the State, on the lines of the instructions issued by the Bengaluru Police Commissioner urging personnel to restrain from using lathis on the citizens and to behave with them while enforcing the lockdown orders.
However, the High Court stressed on the citizens too must adhere to the lockdown directions, including the restrictions on movement, issued by the State and Union governments.
The directions were issued after a special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna took notice of the video clippings of police excesses and lathicharge brought before the court.
The Bench was hearing PIL petitions on issues that have cropped up owing to the measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Karnataka. The hearing was held as a videoconference, with advocates arguing from their private locations.
The Bench was informed by Advocate-General Prabhuling K. Navadgi and additional government counsel Vikram Huilgol that the Bengaluru City Police Commissioner had already issued instructions to the civil police to leave lathis in the police station and the police personnel were given the orders to make use of the lathis only if necessary for bandobust.
A copy of the instructions issued by the Police Commissioner was submitted to the court.
Following this, the Bench directed the DG&IGP to issue a similar circular to the police force in the State so that instances of police excesses stop.
It also directed the State to file its response to the incident in which the police opened fire on a person who had assaulted them when they were enforcing lockdown at Sanjaynagar in Bengaluru city.