The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the Punjab Police to sanitise all its case records and make sure offensive terms "negro" or "nigro" are never used by its police officers to describe black persons in India.
They should simply be referred to by the country of their origin in case papers, the court said as it issued directions to the Punjab Director General of Police to take strict action against the policemen who indulge in this character assassination based on physical features.
Justice Rajiv Narain Rains took strong exception to the use of these offensive terms in the case papers of the state police and directed the DGP, Punjab, to immediately issue retraining orders to the police department.
The court called it a terrible thinking that every black person in India is a drug peddler and emphasised such a mindset shall bring shame to India as it took up a matter relating to drugs case.
"I am appalled to find the term 'Nigro' used while referring to an African national in the challan papers presented under Section 173 Cr.P.C before the trial court in an NDPS case. This is a highly offensive word across the globe and no one has any business to use it, and much less the police. Hence, it is directed never to use the unprintable word in any police document including in challans or anywhere else on case papers including in investigation reports," held Justice Raina.
"This brings shame to India and hatred for the country. The police appears to have assumed that every black is a drug peddler and should be treated as such. This is terrible thinking," said the judge, asking the DGP to issue the necessary instructions.
The Court said that all records needs to be sanitised by the Punjab Police to remove these offensive terms and a warning must be given to all officers that no person should be looked down upon on the basis of the colour of his or her skin.
"They deserve the dignity and respect in a foreign land as visitors or students in India from Africa temporarily living in our country, which prides itself of many peoples of all colours of the skin ranging from white to black and aboriginal. This has nothing to do with investigation or crime," maintained the judge.
Justice Raina further said that all Africans are our friends and when they come to India either as visitors or students they are our valuable guests. The judgment recalled Mahatma Gandhi's struggle in South Africa, and rued that although we are, professedly, a tolerant sub-continent of “browns” in all its shades, more often than not, we display a perverted and primitive mind-set looking down on others without looking within ourselves.
It added freedom doesn't give a right to abuse foreigners on the street calling them 'kalla' but to the contrary, freedom teaches love for human dignity and respect for fellowman.
Justice Raina concluded by directing as: "The pernicious practice should be stopped forthwith and the police commanded on pain of disciplinary action never to address anyone by that description, forget about writing it down in official papers of permanent State record."