Media vs Police: More than 100 Lawyers move HC for Cop; Kerala HC stays proceedings

Media vs Police: More than 100 Lawyers move HC for Cop; Kerala HC stays proceedings

High Court of Kerala has stayed all the further proceedings against Sub-Inspector PM Vimodh (now under suspension) pursuant to FIRs in Crime numbers 668 and 669 of 2016 of the Town Police station, Kozhikode pending disposal of the Writ Petitions filed by him for quashing the FIR against him. The Petitions were moved by more than 100 Lawyers from Kerala High Court for and on behalf of Mr.Vimodh [See the full list here]. He was arrayed as an accused in the Kozhikode Court incident and faces indictment under Sections 323, 342 and 506 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR was registered on the basis of a statement given by K.Jayesh, Reporter, Media One TV for allegedly abusing and preventing media persons from entering the Kozhikode court premises. It is also alleged that the de-facto Complainant was manhandled and threatened with life by the petitioner and other three identifiable policemen. When he asked as to why he was so assaulted, he was locked up inside the police station and showered with abuses. He also apprehends assault from the petitioner. The arguments were led by Senior Advocate P. Vijay Bhanu

Justice Kemal Pasha who heard the matter Today has observed that, on going through the First Information Statement, based on which the crimes have been registered, presently seems that there are no specific allegations at all in order to invite the aforesaid offences.

“It is a fact that the investigation has to be continued. True, that the matter has invited much media publicity. At the same time, this Court is of the view that solely because of such media publicity, this Court cannot deny what is being given by this Court to a common man, to the petitioner, who happens to be a Sub Inspector of Police. It is true that as rightly pointed out by the learned State Attorney, the police has to investigate that matter. At the same time, in case any investigation is not warranted, unwarranted investigation may put the petitioner in hot waters, he being a Sub Inspector of police. It seems that he has been placed under suspension. Continued investigation at this point of time without looking into other materials may add insult to the injury. In such case, this Court is of the view that for the time being the continued proceedings pursuant to Ext. P1 in both these writ petitions can be stayed till 16.08.2016” , Justice Pasha added.

In the Petition it is averred that on 30.07.2016, Maoist leader Roopesh was being produced in the Courts at Kozhikode and there was deployment of tight security in the Court premises. The petitioner too was on duty in the Court premises from 09.15 Hrs. While so, at around 09.55 Hrs., it was informed that the media men along with their OB (Outside Broadcasting) van parked inside the Court premises posed threat to impairment of the smooth conduct of Court proceedings. The duty police officials requested to the media men to co-operate with the police and remove their OB van from the Court premises. The media men refused to oblige. At 10.06 Hrs., petitioner was informed that the media men refused to co-operate with the police security measures and remove their OB van from the Court premises. Pursuant thereto, at 10.08 Hrs., the petitioner lawfully directed the media men to co-operate with the police and remove their OB van from the Court premises. Anyhow, the media men refused to comply with the said lawful directions. The petitioner bonafide apprehending a serious law and order problem and that commission of offences cannot otherwise be prevented, took the 3rd respondent and other media persons as well as the OB van to the Town Police Station, invoking the power of preventive action spelt out in Chapter XI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

It is also submitted that the so-called offences alleged by the media men were committed by the petitioner in good faith and in the due discharge of his official duties under the provisions of the Kerala Police Act, 2011.

“The petitioner had acted on the verbal communication by the 4th respondent and the learned District & Sessions Judge, Kozhikode, who had specifically ordered to prevent media persons from entering the Court premises. The petitioner had sincerely discharged his duty. The petitioner is known as uncompromising to any influences. The case of the 3rd respondent is one which is most unlikely and improbable to happen. Camera eyes were too focused on the petitioner all throughout and if any such incident happened, the same would not have escaped the lens men”, states the Petition.

Image from here.

Read the Petitions here.