In an unusual event, the Chief Justice-led Bench of the Uttrakhand High Court was approached virtually by a young girl in a distressing condition, alleging that Police beat residents of Belda Village in the Haridwar District. The girl joined the video conference facility from a Hospital in some remote location and beseeched the Court to intervene and help the people. The oral application was made without filing any proceedings, at the time of mentioning before the Chief Justice's Court yesterday morning. The girl identified herself as Nagma Qureshi.

The Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal heard the oral submissions of the girl. She submitted, "I am in a hospital with the residents of the village who have been mercilessly beaten by the Police." "One young boy in their community has been killed and when they approached the authorities for registration of a complaint, they were told that it was an accident. The Police are hand in glove with the opposite party and have beaten many villagers. Even the dead body of the individual was cremated by the Police", Nagma Qureshi told the Bench which listened patiently.

Nagma then pointed her camera towards the injured villagers lying in the hospital and said, "Look at their injuries, they can't even speak."

Hesitating to entertain the plea, the Chief Justice replied, "See there is a procedure for everything, you file a Petition along with the pieces of evidence. For us to verify or to even ask for answers, we do need something." He further remarked that there is the availability of Advocates and that she may approach the District Legal Service Authority. However, Nagma continued to request the Court to send someone for their help.

The Bench then agreed to take suo motu cognisance of the matter and directed, "One Ms. Nagma Qureshi has mentioned an incident of alleged killing and beating of the resident of village belga district Haridwar by the Police authority. She states that many people have been injured and are lying in the hospital. She states that there is no help available to them. Advocate General is present in the Court and is apprised of the complaint and is directed to instruct the SSP Haridwar to provide a report of the alleged incident." The matter was accordingly adjourned to today.

Today, the matter was listed before the Bench of the Chief Justice as a suo moto case and the report as sought was filed by Advocate General SN Babulkar.

When the matter was taken up, Advocate General Babulkar submitted that Nagma Qureshi is a resident of Lansdowne, Pauri Garhwal and is a Law graduate who is preparing for Civil Services Examination. He submitted that the present issue arises out of an accident involving a tractor trolley and a youth riding a motorcycle, in which, unfortunately, the youth is stated to have died in hospital. After the said accident, a large mob gathered at the Police Station and there was stone pelting, resulting in injury to several people including a large number of police personnel. It was also submitted that 44 persons were taken into custody and three cases were registered by the Police.

The Bench also noted that the Senior Civil Judge / Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Haridwar on being apprised of the Court's order, has visited the site, recorded statements and collected documents and photographs on the basis of which he has filed the report. He found that between June 10 and June 13, there were seven injured police persons and 34 MLPC (Medico legal case) brought to the hospital, but no person relating to the matter was admitted to the hospital. He submitted that even Nagma Qureshi has confirmed that no person related to the incident is currently admitted to the hospital.

It was also noted that Nagma Qureshi refused any legal assistance from the DLSA. She also did not require further police protection on the ground that it was causing hardship for her. She also claimed that the Police were indirectly pressuring her family at Lansdowne, Pauri. The Secretary DLSA interacted with two women, namely Menka Devi and Munni Devi who also did not desire any legal case and stated that the Petitioner was there to help them. It was also stated by Nagma Qureshi that there were other injured women but that they had left the hospital just before the arrival of the Secretary, DLSA because of Police influence.

In its Order, the Bench noted, "We had initiated the proceedings Suo Motu upon one Ms. Nagma Qureshi appearing online and alleging an incident of killing of a person and beating up of residents of village Belda, Roorkee, District Haridwar. The Advocate General was present in Court when the matter was taken up and we directed him to instruct Senior Superintendent of Police, Haridwar to provide the report in relation to the aforesaid alleged incident."

The Bench further observed in the order that "The report states that she has no concern with the incident/accident in question. We have inquired from Ms. Nagma Qureshi whether she was herself a witness to either the alleged accident/incident involving the death of the youth or the following violence. She states that she derived the information from some persons who were involved in the incident/violence. In these circumstances, we are not inclined to continue with these proceedings any further. It is open to the Peititoner Nagma Qureshi and to all others who are affected to raise their grievances in appropriate proceedings before the authorities or the competent Court. We accordingly close these proceedings."

The Bench while closing the matter, orally remarked "You please, file something. On your saying, we initiated the step and we find that there is nothing to substantiate the hue and cry raised. File a Petition with definite averments so that you are also bound by what to say. You are sitting somewhere remotely, we don't even know where you are connecting from."

Cause Title: Suo Motu PIL in the Matter of Beating Up of The Resident of Village Belda District Haridwar v. Senior Superintendent of Police and Another [WPPIL/91/2023]