New Delhi, Oct. 6: The Delhi High Court has given a man who was wrongfully imprisoned by the city police for roughly 30 minutes compensation in the amount of Rs 50,000, expressing concern over how residents were handled by the authorities’ “appalling” behavior.
Justice Subramonium Prasad ordered that the compensation be deducted from the pay of the negligent police officers in order to send a “meaningful message.”
The petitioner was abruptly snatched up from the scene and taken to the jail without warning, according to the court, showing that the authorities did not respect the petitioner’s liberty or adhere to the rules of law.
The court stated in its ruling dated October 5 that “the time spent in the lock-up by the Petitioner, even for a brief period of time, cannot absolve the police officers who have deprived the Petitioner of his liberty without following the due procedure established by law.
“This court believes that the authorities need to get a clear message that police personnel cannot be law unto themselves. This Court is inclined to award the petitioner compensation of Rs. 50,000/-, which shall be recovered from the salaries of Respondents Nos. 4 and 5, despite the facts of the case, which show that the petitioner was only unlawfully detained for around 30 minutes.
The petitioner claimed that in September of last year, local police unlawfully kept him in a lockup without a formal arrest after receiving a complaint about a brawl between a woman and a vegetable vendor. He demanded restitution for the invasion of his privacy.
The petitioner was hauled up from the scene without a FIR being filed against him and kept in a cell, the court said, violating his right to personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
This court finds it quite troubling that the petitioner wasn’t even detained. Without any rhyme or explanation, he was just hauled up from the location, taken to the police station, and locked up. The court said that the highhanded manner in which the police authorities acted, disregarding a citizen’s constitutional and fundamental rights, was abhorrent.
This Court “is troubled at the way the citizens are being treated by the Police authorities who behave as if they are above the law,” it stated.
The court ruled that the censure alone was insufficient given the facts and circumstances of the case because it was unlikely to have any impact on the police officers’ careers and would therefore not serve as a sufficient deterrent.