Use Softer Words Instead of "dekhte hi goli maar di jayegi" for Trespassers at Army Sites: Allahabad HC Suggests

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Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav emphasized the negative impact such language could have on children and urged the Central Government to exercise caution in its choice of wording

The Allahabad High Court recently criticized the use of harsh language like "dekhte hi goli maar di jayegi" to deter trespassers from entering armed forces premises. Court urged the Central Government to opt for gentler wording, especially in areas frequented by the general public and children. 

Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav emphasized the negative impact such language could have on children and urged the Central Government to exercise caution in its choice of wording.

Instead of harsh phrases like "Trespassers will be shot" and "dekhte hi goli maar di jayegi," the judge recommended the use of more gentle language to convey the same message.

The observations were made in a bail application filed by Nepal citizen Etvir Limbu who was caught entering Manauri Air Force Station, Prayagraj on February 23 this year.

Limbu's counsel explained that he had come to India from Nepal in search of employment after being invited by his neighbor Suraj Manjhi, who had been living and working in India for years. The counsel submitted that Limbu, who was residing near Naini Station, unintentionally entered the Air Force Station while intoxicated, without any malicious intent. Due to his inebriated state and lack of proficiency in Hindi, he couldn't properly communicate with the stationed soldier or present his lost identity card, he claimed.

The counsel emphasized that Limbu had no malicious intentions and possessed no incriminating items. He argued that the charge sheet filed against him under Sections 3 and 7 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and Section 461 IPC overlooked these crucial aspects.

On May 15, during proceedings, the court questioned the Additional Solicitor General of India about the presence of "shoot at sight" signboards at Manauri Air Force Station, situated in a central area with nearby schools and adjacent to a main road, expressing concern over its potential negative impact on passersby. In response, ASG SP Singh acknowledged the widespread placement of such signboards across army premises nationwide but couldn't specify the exact regulations governing their installation.

Later, in an affidavit submitted to the high court, Air Commodore Angshuk Pal, Air Officer Commanding 24 ED, Air Force, outlined comprehensive security measures implemented by defense forces to safeguard installations from intrusion, trespassing, and unauthorized access. These measures include perimeter security, manned entrances and exits, land fencing, and cautionary signage such as "Prohibited Area, Trespassers Will Be Shot." The affidavit emphasized that these security measures are aimed at protecting national interests and are implemented accordingly.

The affidavit further revealed that that despite having adequate security measures in place at defense stations/installations, incidents of intrusion and trespassing have been increasing. It highlighted that following terrorist attacks at Pathankot Air Base and Uri Army Base, numerous steps were taken to bolster the physical security of defense installations/stations. The affidavit referred to directive dated December 4, 2018, issued by the Senior Air and Administrative Staff Officer (Maintenance Command 'SAASO') of Headquarters, aimed to address these trespassing incidents effectively.

Regarding the bail application, after reviewing all aspects of the case, including evidence, duration of detention, and the unlikelihood of a swift trial, along with the absence of evidence suggesting tampering, especially considering Limbu's illiteracy and citizenship from Nepal, the court opined that he should be granted bail.

Accordingly, court allowed Limbu to be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned subject to certain conditions.

Case Title: Etvir Limbu v. State of UP