Seven months after mid-day reported on the Malwani police dragging couples out of hotels and slapping them with a charge of ‘public indecency’, the Bombay High Court noted that the moral policing incident had caused irreparable damage, and asked the state to frame guidelines to prevent a repeat.
The bench, comprising justices Abhay Oka and G S Kulkarni, was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident Sumeer Sabharwal, through his lawyers Shilpi Jain and Vinay Rathi. The petition was about the August 6 raids on hotels in Madh Island and Aksa, where 40-odd couples were rounded up and put through intense humiliation, followed by fines of Rs 1,200 under the charge of public indecency. Mumbai Police faced considerable flak for this move after mid-day broke the story on August 8. The petitioner has claimed that the couples’ right to privacy was breached, as the cops removed them from private rooms and humiliated them.
“During this raid, no permission was obtained from any senior police officer,” observed special public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde.
“Sometimes, power is wrongly exercised by the police and such incidents should not have happened. But now the damage done is beyond repair,” observed Justice Oka.
The bench added that the state should frame guidelines for future police raids, and such an exercise should be sanctioned by senior officers, to prevent any bias.
The court asked the state to carry out a meeting with the police commissioner to frame the guidelines and submit a draft to the court by April 15, when it will hear the matter next.
The number of couples were rounded up and put through intense humiliation