NEW DELHI – The High Court has sought the stand of the Delhi police on a petition by a Muslim woman seeking an impartial probe and action against its personnel who allegedly took her to a police station forcibly without her veil and subjected her to degrading treatment, reported PTI.
The petitioner claimed that on the intervening night of November 5-6, at around 3 AM, some police officials barged into her house, held an illegal search, paraded her without her purdah/veil to the police station and detained her for 13 hours in flagrant violation of the law.
Justice Saurbah Banerjee issued notice to the city police commissioner on the woman’s petition which also sought a direction to sensitise personnel of the force about the sacrosanct religious, social customs and practices observed by women who observe ‘purdah’ either as a religious belief or as a part of their personal choice.
Lawyer M Sufian Siddiqui, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the conduct of the police officials was a brazen infraction of the petitioner’s fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution as well as her human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In an order passed on November 30, Justice Banerjee directed the police to preserve the relevant CCTV footage of all cameras installed within and around the police station premises as well as those installed by the city authorities and private residents in the area.
“Issue notice. The respondent is directed to preserve the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed inside and around PS.: Chandni Mahal, Central-District, Delhi for the time period from 01:00 AM to 05:00 PM on 06.11.2023 as well as the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed by the GNCTD and/ or private residents near the petitioner’s residence leading towards the direction of the PS.: Chandni Mahal, Central-District, Delhi for the time period from 01:00 AM to 06:00 AM on 06.11.2023,” ordered the court.
The court granted the city police four weeks for filing a status report on the action taken by them on the petitioner’s complaint.
The petition says a ‘purdahnashin’ woman enjoys the shield of religious sanction along with the right to choose and dress as provided under ‘Right to Life’ and she cannot be forced to face the world without her obligatory veil. It says the conduct of the police personnel was in blatant violation of her ‘Right to Privacy’, ‘Right to Live with Dignity’ and ‘Right to Reputation’.
The conduct of the police in “forcibly entering inside her residence without her consent that too while she was all alone, illegally conducting house search, dragging her from her residence without her Purdah/veil/Burqa to the Police Station, illegally detaining her at the Police Station for almost 13 hours, subjecting her to inhuman and degrading treatment that too during night” has left “indelible blemish on her dignity and self-respect”, the plea said.
The matter will be heard next in January.