17th January 2014
Why has an FIR not been lodged against Somnath Bharti for criminal confinement and assault?
It is very hard for me to write this post, because Somnath and I have a personal friendship spanning a few years now. I'm loathe to comment also on something which is only a news report. Often news reports turn out to be false.
But this newsreport seems to be pretty strong:
Delhi Police ACP B S Jakhar confirmed that Bharti and other AAP members had surrounded a taxi carrying the African women.
“We were returning from a party, when our taxi was stopped by a few men. They started shouting at us, calling us names. The police were in fact supporting us. They held us captive inside the car for over three hours,” one of the women told The Indian Express.
“The men hit us,” she said, pointing to bruises on her face. According to the women, the men then took them to a hospital. Some police personnel accompanied them, the women said.
“We asked the men where they are taking us. They said we would have to undergo a medical examination to check if we had consumed drugs. We were taken to the hospital and a series of tests were conducted,” she claimed.
"But those other men were after our lives. They did not let us go home,” she said.
Now, from the video of the 'raid' by Somnath (below), this specific incident of attacking the women is not visible, but I must take on trust two statements – one by the women, two by the Dehli ACP – against Somnath and his thugs. This is a very serious matter and the truth must come out.
Citizen arrest is possible, but only in extreme circumstances a person "who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence" (s.43 CrPC). Did such a crime occur in the presence of these people? If not, they are guilty of a serious crime, and Somnath and his accomplices must be arrested and prosecuted for the many crimes they have seemingly committed.
Somnath Bharti, despite your being a friend and I being your well-wisher, you have no business to block women in a car for three hours and have your men hit them.
If you have been involved in any such thing, please hand yourself over to the nearest thana. THERE MUST BE THE RULE OF LAW, NOT OF MEN.
Why has an FIR not been lodged?
Note that if this newsreport is false, the shoe would move to the other side and the relevant policemen/ women would need to be arrested and investigated.
Either way, this is not an ordinary matter. A crime has been reported. This is not something for debate. A proper investigation is needed.
THE PROVISIONS UNDER IPC
339. Wrongful restraint.– Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person. Exception.- The obstruction of a private way over land or water which a person in good faith believes himself to have a lawful right to obstruct, is not an offence within the meaning of this section.
340. Wrongful confinement.– Whoever wrongfully restrains any person in such a manner as to prevent that person from proceeding beyond certain circumscribing limits, is said" wrongfully to confine" that person.
341. Punishment for wrongful restraint.– Whoever wrongfully restrains any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
342. Punishment for wrongful confinement.– Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
FIR NOW LODGED "the women lodged separate complaints with the police against unnamed AAP volunteers, alleging they were abused, groped and beaten while being held captive."
FURTHER PROOF OF THE EVENTS OF THAT NIGHT
"When Delhi's Law Minister Somnath Bharti insisted that the police raid a home in his constituency where drugs and sex were allegedly being trafficked, the cops accompanying him refused. They said they didn't have a warrant, and couldn't break the law. So the minister, aided by some residents and supporters, accosted four women from Uganda. At least two were forced to go to hospital and undergo drug tests.
Before that, "one of them was not allowed to go to the bathroom and was forced to urinate in public" said noted lawyer Harish Salve, who has reportedly decided to represent the women in a police case they filed today against "unknown persons." The women tested negative for drugs at the hospital, and the minister has been accused of illegally detaining them and forcing medical exams on them." [Source]