Four police officers, who were charged with contempt of court for publicly flogging five Muslim men in October 2022, urged the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday to consider not punishing them and instead giving appropriate compensation to the complainants, Bar and Bench reported.

Senior Advocate Prakash Jani, representing the four accused, asked the bench of Justices AS Supehia and Gita Gopi to consider the impact on the police officers’ service record.

“We have given over 10 to 15 years of service to the state police,” Jani told the bench. “In the instant proceedings, ultimately, if the court holds us guilty, we urge you to please do not punish us as it will have a huge impact on our service records. We urge you to please consider ordering compensation to the complainants.”

The accused police officials are Inspector AV Parmar, sub-inspector DB Kumavat, constable Rajubhai Rameshbhai Dabhi and head constable Kanaksinh Laxmansinh.

The court sought a response from the complainants and posted the matter for Monday.

In October 2022, a group of Muslim men allegedly threw stones at a garba site near a mosque at Undhela village of Kheda district. The following day, five Muslims accused of being involved in the incident – Jahirmiya Malek, Maksudabanu Malek, Sahadmiya Malek, Sakilmiya Malek and Shahidraja Malek – were dragged out in public, tied to a pole and beaten with a stick by the police as a crowd cheered.

Videos of the flogging showed the men being asked to apologise to the public. The five men moved the Gujarat High Court, contending that they were the victims of police violence and demanded action against 15 police personnel.

On October 4, a division bench of Justices Supehia and MR Mengdey initiated proceedings under civil contempt and contempt of courts laws for violation of the Supreme Court’s directives in the DK Basu versus State of West Bengal case.

In the 1996 case, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines that the police must follow while arresting or detaining any person.

The proceedings against the four policemen were started based on an inquiry report of Nadiad chief judicial magistrate.

The petitioners demanded that the police personnel be “punished for contempt and non-compliance” in accordance with these guidelines.

Also read: ‘Garba jihad’: How Navratri became a communal flashpoint in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh