'Sections were applied under Duress'
Sukhwinder Singh, the Special Inspector General of police for the Konkan Range has concluded in his special report on the Palghar Facebook case that Section 295 A of IPC and Section 66 A of the IT Act were applied under duress by the policemen, who feared that their inaction would stoke a serious law and order problem.
In his report submitted to the state’s DGP, the officer pointed out that the correct application of sections of the law took a backseat, as the police were apprehensive of having to tackle an anarchical situation. This is also why the cops in Palghar didn’t seek legal opinion before making the arrests. After invoking Section 295A — which is applied against those who hurt the religious sentiment of others – they realised that the section was inapplicable, and dropped it.
The cops later charged the women under Section 505(2), which books people for making, publishing, circulating statement on grounds of religion, caste or community, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will. The report says that the application of sect 505 (2) was not warranted, and this was corroborated by the additional DGP (Law & Order) after consulting the legal advisor in State DGP office.
The report says that provisions of the CrPC clearly mention that immediate arrest under these sections of the law is not mandatory. The reason cited by the police for making the arrests – to avoid a law and order situation – does not hold water. The arrests were hasty and could have been avoided. The report maintains that there were no malafide intentions behind the arrests.