The Gujarat High Court on Thursday convicted four policemen for contempt of court in a case pertaining to them publicly flogging a group of Muslim men in Kheda last year, Live Law reported.

A bench of Justices AS Supehia and Gita Gopi sentenced the officials – Inspector AV Parmar, sub-inspector DB Kumavat, constable Rajubhai Rameshbhai Dabhi and head constable Kanaksinh Laxmansinh – to simple imprisonment for 14 days.

It fined them Rs 2,000 each and said that they should be jailed for another three days if they fail to pay the amount.

The High Court, however, stayed the order for three months to enable the accused officials to file an appeal.

The judges said they were unhappy that a day had come on which the court had to pass such an order. The bench said that the public flogging of the Muslim men was “inhumane” and an “act against humanity”.

In October 2022, a group of Muslim men allegedly threw stones at a garba site near a mosque at Undhela village of Kheda. 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 five men being asked to apologise to the public.

On October 4, the High Court ordered the framing of contempt charges against Parmar, Kumavat, Dabhi and Kanaksinh. On October 16, the Muslim men refused to accept monetary compensation from the officials.

The policemen had urged the High Court to consider not punishing them, and claimed that hitting people on their buttocks did not amount to custodial torture.

The High Court, however, held that the police officials violated the Supreme Court’s guidelines in the DK Basu case.

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