Breach of privileges case: UP Assembly sends 6 cops to one-day custody over 2004 lathi-charge


The Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Friday summoned six policemen to the House and awarded them a days imprisonment over a lathi-charge on the then BJP MLA Salil Vishnoi and his supporters during a protest nearly two decades back.

The policemen were released past midnight.

Pronouncing the verdict in the breach of privileges case, Speaker Satish Mahana told the policemen — one of whom has retired and others moved up the ranks — that they had crossed the “Lakshman Rekha” and sent them to a room in the Vidhan Sabha complex that was deemed to be a cell.

This was the first time in 34 years that the House had been turned into a court, an official said.


The House Committee of Privileges, which takes up cases where the rights of legislators are targeted, had on Monday recommended punishment for the officers, acting on a breach of privileges notice by the then MLA back in 2004.

The quantum of the punishment was to be decided by the House on Friday. The policemen were summoned for this, and also to have their say.

Leaders from several parties including the Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress, Apna Dal (Sonelal), Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, Nishad party and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, authorised the Speaker to take a decision on the matter.

Members of the Samajwadi Party, which was in power when the incident took place, and its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal were not present in the House as the Speaker announced the punishment.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also not there.

Speaker Mahana said, “Those working in government jobs should keep in mind that there is a Lakshman Rekha for them. I believe that all the culprits should be punished with imprisonment. A jail has been made for such people above in the Vidhan Sabha.” The Speaker made it clear that they should be treated well. He ordered arrangements for food, and other facilities.

The last time the UP Assembly witnessed something similar was on March 2, 1989, when an officer of the then UP Terai Vikas Janjati Nigam, Shankar Dutt Ojha, was summoned after being accused of misbehaving with a legislator, an Assembly official said.

Vishnoi, now a BJP member of the UP Legislative Council, was leading a delegation to submit a memorandum over power cuts in Kanpur to the district magistrate on September 15, 2004 when the confrontation took place.

The privileges notice given by the then MLA the next month said he and the party workers were taking out a silent procession when policemen led by the circle officer hurled abuses at them and charged at them with lathis, injuring half dozen workers.

The MLA suffered a leg fracture and was hospitalised under police custody.

In the House, the then circle officer Abdul Samad asked for forgiveness — “while touching the feet of all of you” — for the mistake “committed knowingly or unknowingly during the discharge of official work”. Another officer promised that there would be no mistakes in the future.

Samad is now retired. The five others who appeared in the House are the then Kidwai Nagar SHO Srikant Shukla, then sub-inspector Triloki Singh, and then constables Chote Singh, Vinod Mishra and Meharban Singh.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna said, “Everyone has tried to apologise but it is very important to maintain the dignity of the legislature in a democracy.” Khanna said elected representatives work for the welfare of the public, and policemen do not get the right to use batons and abuse them. He moved a resolution for one days imprisonment for the police officers.

Mahana said the privileges committee had also mentioned the option of suspending the policemen from service, but they have apologised.

He said the message from this judgment would go far and wide that constitutional institutions should be respected.

Earlier, Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi requested the bench to show leniency to the officers, saying the punishment should be for a few hours. But other members opposed this.

An Assembly official said that right after midnight, when the date changed, the accused police personnel were released from the cell. Earlier, they were provided food and basic facilities.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)