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SC stays Gujarat HC order sentencing policemen to 14-day jail for public flogging

New Delhi, Jan 24: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed till further orders the decision of the Gujarat High Court sentencing four police officials to a 14-day jail term and imposing a fine of Rs 2,000 each for their involvement in flogging of several men belonging to a particular community.

Hearing an appeal filed by the convicted officials, a Bench presided over by Justice BR Gavai of the apex court extended the stay already put by the High Court on the execution of the sentence.

In its October 2023 order, the High Court had convicted the four officials in contempt for breaching the Supreme Court guidelines on arrest as outlined in the DK Basu case. However, it had suspended the execution of the sentence for three months to allow the convicted police officials to file an appeal.

A Division Bench of Justices AS Supehia and Gita Gopi of the HC denounced the act as “inhuman” and a stark violation of human rights.

The case stems from an incident on October 3, 2022, where a sizable crowd allegedly disrupted a religious event at Undhela Village of Kheda District.

Subsequent to this, videos emerged showcasing police officers publicly flogging several men, an act that drew widespread condemnation.

Five victims, alleging excessive police force and illegal detention, petitioned the Gujarat High Court, referencing a landmark Supreme Court judgment that outlines guidelines for police conduct during arrests and detentions. They further sought compensation for the infringement of their rights.