JOURNALISTS' ARREST UNDER SECTION 353 OF IPC ; PRESS COUNCIL PULLS UP PALGHAR POLICE

MUMBAI : The Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI) Justice Chandramouli K Prasad,on Tuesday has ordered the State government to take action against the Palghar police who have violated journalistic rights in the arrest of journalists Ram Parmar and Mhd Hussain Khan. The order was issued in the Sahyadri Guest House where the Justice was presiding the court. 

Coming heavily on the SP,Palghar the judge said the police had a prejudice against the two journalists. In the first place the police did not cover  the face of the accused who was brought to the police station and Khan was filming the same as per his journalistic duty said Justice Prasad. The learned judge questioned as to why the police did not put a mask on the accused when being brought to the police station  from the scene of the crime and this aspect exposed the casual attitude of the police. The judge said the SP,Palghar is relying on his subordinates and told the SP to believe his conscience! You are just parroting as to what your subordinates have told you said the judge to the SP,Palghar. Do not degrade the office of the SP,Palghar  and such an act is definitely a case of violation of the freedom of the press. The irony of this country is the SP,Palghar is talking like a PSI or other low rung officer said the judge.

The SP,Palghar prayed before Justice Prasad to also hear the police version as "after all we also are humans," to which the Justice made the above observation. Every statement the SP,Palghar is making before me is curtailing press freedom said Justice Prasad. The duty of the press is to highlight the wrong issues in public domain and the two journalists were just doing their duty and were wrongly jailed in Thane Central jail for five days from 22 June to 26 June observed the judge. 

 

BACKGROUND

 

On 21 June midnight, there was a dacoity at Waghoba Ghat in Palghar where Parmar and Khan went to the Palghar police station to get inputs on the incident. While Khan was filming a police van which just entered the station, PSI T Sayyed took objection to the filming and snatched Khan's mobile camera and also punched him in the chest. Next, Khan was locked in a room and when Parmar questioned PSI Sayyed about the illegal act, the cop dragged Parmar and was about to assault him. Next, the cop also threatened Parmar and Khan that both will be booked under Section 353 (obstruction to government work) of the IPC. While Khan was detained at the police station for six hours, Parmar was picked up from his home on 22 June early morning by PSI Sayyed  where Parmar was falsely told that Addl SP Yogesh Chavan wanted to talk to him. But  Parmar was arrested under Section 353 of the IPC. Next, both wereput in a lockup at the Kelwe Coastal police station where the case was transferred. The very afternoon, both were produced before the Palghar court which rejected their bail as the Section 353 was  triable  before the Sessions Court. The two reporters were lodged in the Thane Central jail for four days and finally bail was granted only on 25 June by the Sessions Court and released the next day.