Supreme Court Comes Down Heavily on UP Govt, Police for Handling of Muzaffarnagar Slapping Case

The court cited the delay in registering an FIR and the lack of reference to allegations of communal hatred in it, and said that the case must be investigated by a senior IPS police officer.
author The Wire Staff
Sep 26, 2023

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday (September 25) came down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government and police for their handling of the Muzaffarnagar case in which a teacher encouraged other students to repeatedly slap a young Muslim boy.

The court cited the delay in registering an FIR and the lack of reference to allegations of communal hatred in it, and said that the case must be investigated by a senior IPS police officer, LiveLaw reported. The case was heard by a bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Justice Pankaj Mithal.

“We take serious objections to the way the FIR was filed. The father had made a statement saying allegations were made and he was beaten due to religion. But this is not mentioned in the FIR. Next is, where is video transcript? This is about quality education. Quality education includes sensitive education. The manner in which it has happened should shake the conscience of the State,” Justice Oka said in court, according to Bar and Bench.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K.M. Nataraj, representing the UP government, claimed in court that the communal angle had been “blown out of proportion”. “There was a communal angle blown out of proportion. Something is there,” he said.

“Not just something, it is very serious. The teacher gave mandate to beat the child because of his religion. What kind of education is being imparted?” Justice Oka responded.

The court also said there was “prima facie failure on the part of the State” to comply with the mandate of the Right to Education Act that prohibits the mental and physical harassment of students.

“After a long delay an FIR has been registered on September 6, 2023, alleging commission of offences under Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 503 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC have been invoked. Petitioner contends offence is also of 75(2) of JJ Act and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the IPC. The probe shall be supervised by a senior police officer nominated by the State government to look into whether these two offences deserve to be invoked. The IPS officer so invited shall submit a report to this court,” the court ordered.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Tushar Gandhi in the case.

In a video that went viral in August, a teacher named Tripta Tyagi who runs ‘Neha Public School’ at her home can be seen exhorting the students to assault a child who is seen crying while different students come forward  to slap him. At one point in the video, the teacher scolded a student for not hitting him hard enough. “I have declared that all those Muslim children should be…(inaudible),” she can be heard saying in the forty-second long video.

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