The current law enforcement by the cops that is for the 21 days curfew due to the dangerous COVID-19 virus is disturbing. This is because of the policemen have resorted to lathi charges to maintain law and order. Lathi seems to be the first manner in which law and enforcement can be maintained. There is no serious effort taken into account to understand the gravity of the problem. Jawaharlal Nehru " Those were the days when we were not used to lathi charges by the police; our sensitiveness had not been blunted by repeated brutality''. Even after more than seventy years after independence the method as not being altered or changed. In the advent of setting up a legal framework so that lathi charges can be used to maintain peace was legally recognised. Section 129 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Crpc) was introduced to use force for the maintenance of public order and tranquillity. This section empowers the police as well as armed forces to use force to disperse an unlawful assembly. Assembly means five or more persons. Such force can be used only after the order of an executive magistrate or the police in charge of the police station. Three essential conditions need to be met before force can be devised by the police. Firstly the unlawful assembly should have five or more persons who are likely to cause harm or disturb the peace. Secondly, the assembly should be ordered to be dispersed. And lastly given such order to disperse the assembly does not follow then lathi charges can be used. In the light of Anita Thakur and Others V Government of Jammu and Kashmir and Others, the Supreme Court stated that the excessive use of force by the police will result in negating human rights and dignity. The UN basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials highlight that use of force by officials should be in proportion to human rights. It can be stated that non-violence should resort first before the use of force. The use of force should be used in cases where it is highly unavoidable. Although the use of lathis in dispersing individuals off the roads during the current scenario of national lockdown fails to fulfil the primary goal as even innocent individuals are also affected. The use of lathi should be sought after warning to disperse is given and also when such is refused.
Tags : Lathi Charges in India