Life and personal liberty: India

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Court judgements

Branding people criminals

Rajesh Kumar Pandey, January 30, 2021: The Times of India

The Allahabad high court held that the practice of putting up names of accused on flysheet boards at police stations without issuing a proclamation is derogatory and against the concept of human dignity and privacy enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

Police role in disclosing the identity of criminals at police stations in public gaze is unwarranted and violates Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty), the court further said.

The court directed the director general of police (DGP) to remove names and identities of top-10 criminals, along with their criminal antecedents, from flysheet boards at police stations and ensure compliance by police heads of districts. The court, however, clarified that the benefit of the judgment will not be provided to “claimed offenders and fugitives in law”. The court further held that there was nothing wrong in preparing a list of top criminals in a district for surveillance.

While allowing the writ filed by Jeeshan, Balveer Singh Yadav and Doodh Nath Yadav, the court observed, “Human dignity is infringed upon when names of accused are displayed on the flysheet board of police stations or anywhere else without issuing a proclamation.”

The three petitioners were aggrieved by the publication of their names at various police stations in Prayagraj and Kanpur Nagar districts. The petitioners were brothers and relatives of an ex-MP from Allahabad. They contended that police published their names as part of political vendetta.

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