SC directs police not to harass people based on appearances

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 28, 2017-

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the police administration not to harass any individual, particularly men, for growing long hair or beard and wearing earrings. The apex court said that remanding people based on their appearances is against their personal freedom. With this order police will no longer have the right to arrest or harass or force men to cut their hair, facial hair and take off their earrings.

A joint bench of the then chief justice Kalyan Shrestha and Justice Om Prakash Mishra had issued the order in response to a writ petition filed by Law Students Society member Bikalpa Rajbhandari and advocate Subhas Lamichhane. The court verdict, the full text of which was released on Tuesday, has stated that police must not treat any individuals as suspects on the basis of their appearance or attire. “No person should be arrested or harassed for growing hair or wearing earrings,” read the SC order, adding , “The SC orders the police department to send a written circular to all of its offices to stop conducting activities like forcefully cutting an individual’s hair, taking off earrings which hurts the self-respect of those individuals.”

The writ was filed at the apex court against the police drive to arrest or harass men with long hair or earring, launched by then Metropolitan Police Circle chief SSP Bikram Singh Thapa. The Home Ministry, Police Headquarters, Metropolitan Police Commissioners Office and Kathmandu Police Circle were named as defendant in the writ which stated that police had sent a circular to its branch offices to conduct the ‘Chulte-Mundre’ operation.

The police move is a gross violation of freedom to live with dignity, the apex court has stated in the verdict, adding that the security agency cannot curtail the legal right that grants any individual to present himself or herself in a manner which does not affect the society in a negative manner. However, police have denied charges of issuing a written circular to conduct such an operation. 

The SC has also said that police failed to provide ample evidence to support their claims that men with long hair, facial hair or wearing earrings have a negative effect in the society. 

The police administration in its defence had claimed that they were monitoring people with long hair, facial hair or who wears earrings to control the crimes in the metropolis.

However, the SC has said that arresting such individuals just on the basis of their looks and attire also violates the fundamental rights granted by the constitution.

Published: 28-12-2017 07:41

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