Stop police harassment of those who use freedom of expression: Ex-bureaucrat
New Delhi: A group of 72 former bureaucrats of the country have written a letter to Attorney General KK Venugopal, in which they have asked (Venugopal) to suggest to the government that those who exercise the right of ‘freedom of expression’ should be punished by the police. Stop the harassment going on.
A letter to the country’s top law officer (attorney general) Letter In 2014, former bureaucrats associated with the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) highlighted the continuing detention of Mohd Zubair, the co-founder of fact check website Alt News, and the violation of his personal liberty.
“We see with dismay the overzealousness of not only the law enforcing agencies but also the law officers subordinate to you, who deliberately frame cases against people to deprive them of their basic liberties,” the letter said. Huh.’
Former bureaucrats have said that as a supporter of the constitutional principle of equality before the law, it is very disturbing to see the ‘discriminatory treatment between Nupur Sharma and Mohammad Zubair’.
This letter, written on 15 July, was made public on Saturday (16 July). He wrote, ‘As we understand, law enforcement in such a biased manner is contrary to justice.’
The former bureaucrats specifically referred to ‘Mohammed Zubair’s continuing abuses of personal civil liberties on the basis of allegations that would not stand the test of law.’
A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to Zubair in a case related to an alleged objectionable tweet about a Hindu deity in 2018 saying “voice of dissent is essential for a healthy democracy”.
Despite bail, Zubair will remain in jail as he has been sent to judicial custody under certain FIRs registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police against him for hurting religious sentiments. Zubair has been in jail since July 2.
“We request you to kindly advise the government to issue such directions to the police officers as to prevent the police from inflicting any kind of harassment against citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression,” the letter said. Stop and ensure that no baseless case is registered against such people in future. Along with this, issue directions to the public prosecutors not to oppose the regular bail applications of such accused.
The 72 former bureaucrats who signed the letter include former Home Secretary GK Pillai, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Health Secretary K. Sujatha Rao and former IAS officer Harsh Mander and others.
The letter said that the apex court in a recent judgment has held that indiscriminate arrest of people and imprisoning them is making India a ‘police raj’.
It said, ‘We do not understand why the Solicitor General himself appears in all kinds of cases. He even appears himself to oppose the bail.
In the letter, Attorney General KK Venugopal has been told, ‘As the highest law officer of this country, we feel that it is your responsibility to rectify the situation. If this moral imperative is ignored, we fear there will be disastrous consequences for the country. We hope that you will act swiftly to give our people the freedom that is expected to prevail in our democracy.’
Read the full letter below.
(with input from news agency language)
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