Supreme Court Slams Delhi Police for 'Unprofessionalism' While Handling Riots

Judges also brought up the lack of independence in the police force.

New Delhi: In oral remarks on Wednesday, the Supreme Court slammed the Delhi police for how it has handled riots in the ongoing part of the city.

Justice K.M. Joseph said, “Regarding police inaction, I want to say certain things. If I don’t, I won’t be discharging my duty. I have my loyalty towards this institution, towards this country…”

The bench of Justices Joseph and Sanjay Kishan Kaul were hearing a petition on the Shaheen Bagh sit-in protest, which yesterday had been clubbed with petitions seeking a direction to the police to file FIRs on the riots.

The Supreme Court disposed off the new petitions, as it was told that a similar hearing was taking place in the Delhi high court. However, the judges expressed their opinions orally and said that the riots were “unfortunate”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta objected to this, saying it would “legitimise the violence”. “In this environment, you should not make such remarks…officials will be demoralised,” Mehta said, according to LiveLaw.

Also read: ‘We Burnt the Mazar Down’: Hindutva Men Talk About the Violence They Unleashed

The judges disagreed, and went on to express their opinions. “The problem is lack of independence and professionalism in police. If this had been done before, this situation would not have risen,” Justice Joseph said. He gave the example of the US and the UK, and said the police forces there act independently and swiftly when there is a problem.

“Look at how police acts in the UK. If somebody makes an inflammatory remarks, they swing into action. They don’t wait for orders. Police should not be looking for here and there for nods,” Bar and Bench quoted the judge as saying.

“I think it’s time all stakeholders in Delhi started lowering their temperatures, their blood pressures. This is not the way society should behave,” Kaul added.

At least 20 people have lost their lives in the riots so far. The court said it would not be expanding the ambit of the case before it, and adjourned the Shaheen Bagh hearing till March 23.

In the Delhi high court, the Delhi police’s inaction was witness to even more criticism. Justice S. Muralidhar slammed the Delhi police commissioner for saying he had not watched incendiary videos of Bharatiya Janata Party, and played the clips in the courtroom.