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A petition from the citizens of Mumbai to the Chief Minister requesting him to take necessary actions to rectify and terminate the recent infringement on fundamental human rights.
People from all over the world are requested to support the cause. Each Sign makes a difference.

Letter to
Mumbai Unite Nisha Harale Bedi
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan
I've just signed the following petition addressed to: The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

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To,
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Mantralya.
Mumbai 400 001


Dear Sir,

Subject: The recent instances of police excesses in Mumbai.

A petition from the citizens of Mumbai to the Chief Minister requesting him to take necessary actions to rectify and terminate the recent infringement on fundamental human rights.
People from all over the world are requested to support the cause. Each Sign makes a difference.
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We, the citizens of Mumbai, petition you with the authority that flows to us from the Constitution of this country.

Sir, while we respect and are grateful for the efforts of the Police towards keeping our streets and citizens safe, we have in the recent past, seen the Mumbai Police misuse their power. We can tangibly feel the precipitous drop of respect and faith in the eyes of the public for Mumbai's Police force, reputedly India's best.

Over the last few weeks the Police have waged nothing short of a war on the citizens of Mumbai, citing technical violations of archaic and byzantine laws. People are being regularly raided in restaurants, pubs, lounges and even their homes. A hockey stick has also been openly used to physically assault an unsuspecting manager of one such establishment. Clients of Mumbai's indispensable hospitality sector have been lined up and detained for the flimsiest of reasons. It has also recently received international censure from the highly reputed "The Economist" magazine on 23rd June, 2012 which also shows that the global community has mourned the recent crackdowns. This has further affected Mumbai's international colour and reputation.

For any violation of civil or civic laws or under any statute, a procedure is supposed to be triggered wherein the offender may be prosecuted, with due process being followed while the dignity of people is preserved. Without having the backing of procedural law, the actions of the Police amount to crimes under the Indian Penal Code, enumerated later. This barbaric way of questioning is reminiscent of a Police State where men with uniforms beat ordinary citizens with impunity unless they cower and grovel before the authorities. We petition you to prevent our state from degenerating into a land without due process where the balance of power has completely tilted against its citizens.

In almost every instance these actions were accompanied by unnecessary rudeness, uncivilized behaviour and verbal or physical threats.

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS SUDDEN OUTBURST?

The police have stated that they want to break up immoral and indecent behaviour. We all sometimes wish that we had the power to force our views and morals on others. But whereas citizens pause to remember that in a democratic society we have no right to force our morals on others, our police don't respect such niceties.

The police also claim that through their attacks and raids they are only enforcing the laws as they are written. The laws in question are laws prohibiting drug use, drinking without valid permits, overcrowding, operating an establishment beyond the permitted time limit etc. While their intentions are laudable, none of these laws permit policemen to beat up people or abuse and threaten them.

COMPLETE DISREGARD OF THE LAW BY ITS ENFORCERS

The recent Police excesses of the Social Services Branch of the Mumbai Police infringes on the fundamental rights of the victims. Part III of our Constitution expressly states that all persons will have the "Right to Life and Liberty" (Art. 21). The Fundamental Rights are defined as basic human freedoms, which every Indian citizen has the right to enjoy for a proper and harmonious development of personality. They also apply to Government bodies when they infringe upon the fundamental rights of persons.

The aforesaid actions also blatantly violate Central Acts viz., The Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure; the offences therein are enumerated later.

To bring to your kind attention the glaring contradictions of the Mumbai Police who derive their latest zeal while quoting provisions of the Mumbai Police Act, 1951, we have reproduced some of the sections of that very statute, for your ready reference.

S. 147:
"Vexatious entry, search, arrest, etc., by Police officer:
Any Police officer who-
(a) without lawful authority or reasonable cause enters or searches or causes to be entered or searched, any building, vessel, tent or place;
(b) vexatiously and unnecessarily seizes the property of any person;
(c) vexatiously and unnecessarily detains, searches or arrests any person;
(d) offers any unnecessary personal violence to any person in his custody; or
(e) holds out any threat or promise not warranted by law; shall for every such offence, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both."

Another section which seems to be glaring down the police actions:

S. 66:
Duties of Police officers towards the public.
It shall be the duty of every Police officer-
(d) In conducting searches, to refrain from needless rudeness and the causing of unnecessary annoyance;
(e) In dealing with women and children to act with strict regard to decency and with reasonable gentleness;

In view of these provisions, passed by the Parliament (after application of mind) to safeguard the citizens against police excesses, the behaviour of the Police, apart from being illegal are also in contravention of one of the foremost principles* of jurisprudence in any democratic society; "innocent until proven guilty". It is a travesty that many of the victims of the Police excesses were not even charged with a crime, let alone convicted.

We merely petition you to enforce these laws. To prevent them from being mere words; to offer them meaning and to enunciate the intention behind them.

In the circumstances, we inter alia wish to call upon you to initiate investigation against the Social Service Wing of the Police and consequent criminal proceedings u/s. 147, 66 of the Bombay Police Act, & S. 320, S. 351, S. 354, S. 503 of the Indian Penal Code against the perpetrators;


PENDING THE ABOVE, WE CALL UPON THE STATE GOVERNMENT TO:

1. Suspend; pending departmental inquiry, every Police Officer who partook in the recent police excesses.

2. In light of the recent Police excesses, a committee of men with integrity and representatives of civil society be formed who may be given the task of suggesting amendments to the outdated Bombay Police Act, 1951, and the Bombay Prohibition Act, which has no rationale for existence any longer.

3. While subjecting the citizens to tests to determine whether any intoxicants or illegal substances have been consumed, the Police Officer in charge must refrain from unnecessary verbal allegations, threats or rudeness. Having due regard for the traumatic process of such blood-testing, guidelines must be enforced for having a reasonable prima facie suspicion before subjecting persons to the tests, and the citizen be released as soon as possible. The State should assess if every individual present at an event or venue should be subjected to such tests on mere suspicion. If one and all are subjected to tests without application of mind and in contravention to the guidelines aforementioned, penalties must be imposed to the defaulting officer personally.

4. In the interim, and pending the above; it has become necessary that the State Government issue guidelines in the form of Government Resolutions, Government Circulars or such other Administrative Orders; to the Mumbai Police making the dignity and respect of people top priority. To set out therein, strict rules with regard to the conduct of the Police Officer during searches of places and the investigation of people. As the Statute itself has proven inadequate in curbing Police excesses, the Administrative Order must impose a heavy fine and punishment to any defaulting officer personally.

5. Sufficient damages must be paid to the victims who suffered physical injuries and their treatment paid for and compensation must be paid for loss of dignity and loss of reputation in front of peers.

6. The Mumbai Police must release a statement formally apologizing to every victim who had undergone mental and physical trauma during these extra-legal searches.
We have chosen to place this petition firstly before you and your government rather than the courts. This is not because we lack faith in the judiciary. The judiciary remains one institution in which the public has faith and we will take recourse to it if necessary. But we would also like to have faith in our government. We know fully well that the government will promptly follow any dictates of the Court, but it would be appropriate if our government also listened to us. Unless you take action, you would be considered complicit in the perversion of Rule of Law.

Lastly, Sir, the morality quotient of our society is not to be judged by its Police. Especially, not at the cost of human dignity. A society that does not place free will and free choice as the fundamental pillars of its structure is an undemocratic society. And it is no measure of good citizenry to conform to an undemocratic form of law enforcement.

We have full faith that the offices of the Chief Minister and the State Government of Maharashtra will take full cognizance of all these facts and do the citizens of the State justice.

We petition you to take necessary action immediately and make ours a progressive society, where the law of the land is reviewed periodically to keep pace with the needs and choices of its people. We urge you to keep in mind the best course that a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai should be taking while updating these laws that govern it.


Yours faithfully,


Mumbai Unite:
(13,000 thousand and counting.)
5th July, 2012



Disclaimer :

1. By signing this petition, you provide permission to share your details with the appropriate authority
2. You agree to have signed this petition voluntarily and in good faith, without any influence, coercion or persuasion.
3. The opinions expressed in this petition are in public interest and in good faith