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Suo Motu Contempt Petition No 10 Of ... vs Date Of Judgment:08/01/1996 on 8 January, 1996
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construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada on the ground that the construction of the Dam would be prejudicial to the interests of the tribals residing in the catchment area of the Dam since their lands would be submerged in water and they would be displaced. The members of the Sangath have been agitating against the construction of the Dam. In connection with the said agitation, the members of the Sangath were arrested by the police authorities on various dates in connection with criminal cases registered against them and after their arrest, the arrested persons were handcuffed while being taken from jail to the court and from court to jail or from jail/court to civil hospital and back to jail/court. On some occasions they were paraded while handcuffed through the streets of Alirajpur. In the Writ Petition, mention is made of the following incidents of handcuffing of under trial prisoners :

7.2.93 -Rahul Ram and Ashwini Chhatre were handcuffed and paraded on the streets of Alirajpur and were then taken taken in a truck to Sondwa. 8.2.93 -All the above, as well as Ruhul Ram and Ashwini Chhatre were handcuffed and taken into the hospital. Handcuffs were removed during the examination. They were handcuffed again and taken to court and then to the police station, then back to court.

Mishra, Ex-Commissioner of Endowments v. Bhimsen Dixit, 1973 (2) SCR 495, this Court was satisfied that a prima facie case is made out for taking action for contempt of Court against persons responsible for the aforementioned acts of handcuffing of under trial prisoners. A direction was, therefore, given by order dated June 4, 1993 to issue notice to the contemners to show cause why they should not be punished for having committed contempt of this Court. In response to the said notice, affidavits have been filed by the aforementioned contemners. Before we deal with the explanation offered by the contemners, it would be necessary to refer to the provisions of Regulation 465 of the M.P. Police Regulations which prescribes as follows : "465. Hand-cuffs when Used - Hand-cuffs shall be used only if they are

In the present case, it is not disputed that provisions of sub-clause (3) Regulation 465 of the M.P. Police Regulations were not complied with inasmuch as no orders were obtained from the concerned Magistrate/Jail Officer by the concerned police personnel with regard to handcuffing of the prisoners while taking them to and from court or Jail. Handcuffing of the under trial prisoners has been sought to be justified on the ground that (i) the accused persons attempted to resist the arrest and made attempts to run away; and (ii) a large number of supporters of the Sangath had reached Alirajpur on knowing about the arrest of accused persons and there was strong possibility that they would have attempted to free the accused persons from the police custody. It has also been stated that two cases involving offences under Section 307 IPC had been registered