Every Civilized Nation Requires Its PoliceTo Act With Equanimity Even In The Face Of Extreme Vexation, Instigation Or Stress: Kerala HC [Read Judgment]
In a matter involving police harassment, the High Court of Kerala in strong words has called upon the members of the police force to act with certain amount of self-control and tolerance while dealing with the common public. The judgment was pronounced by a division bench comprising of Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice Devan Ramachandran.
The court also cautioned the state police machinery to treat all members of public with respect and courtesy acknowledging the rights of individuals and to be circumspective in using their powers, which is a part of public trust entrusted with them, lawfully and proportionately.
The material facts of the case are thus: A certain complaint was raised by a party respondent (4th respondent) against the petitioners alleging certain money was due from them. It is alleged that the 3rd respondent, the concerned police officer, started summoning them to the police station and threatened them with dire consequences, including death, if they do not make the payments to the 4th respondent. The 3rd respondent is alleged to have used invectives and intimidated the petitioners with a view to extort money from them at the instance of the 4th respondent. The High court of Kerala, through another bench on an earlier occasion, after due probe had come to the conclusion that there was prima facie case in the allegation leveled and had ordered detailed inquiry into the matter and due course of action. Higher officials of the police had thereafter issued appropriate warning to the 3rd respondent and advised him to be careful in future. It was thereafter that the matter came up for consideration before the present bench.
Justice Devan Ramachandran, who penned down the judgment, observed that members of the police force should act with certain amount of self-control and tolerance while dealing with the citizens. It was opined: "A Police officer is always expected to act fairly and professionally and to remain within the limits of decency and not to breach it even under extreme provocation. The Police force is a professional Force and every civilized nation requires its Police Department to act with equanimity even in the face of extreme vexation, instigation or stress."
The division bench held that every civilized nation requires its police department to act with equanimity even in the face of extreme vexation, instigation or stress. If such an officer fails to behave decently even under pressure or stressful circumstances, he is unfit to be continued as a member of police force, the bench added.
Justice Ramachandran further stated: "[I]t is not possible for us to approbate any situation when a Police officer breaches limits of decency and professional behaviour. If he behaves so, that Officer is not fit to be called an Officer or to be a part of the disciplined professional Force. This is more so because such conduct of a Police Officer is certainly in breach of the relevant Statutes as also the circulars issued by the State Police Chief from time to time, which requires Police Authorities to conform to civilised behaviour to all citizens, from the Prince to the Pariah, and to deal with complainants and accused alike with the highest standards of probity and comportment."
Voicing concern over the issue in hand, the court said: "Any behavior from a Police Officer, that shows a lack of civility, is a risk to the trust and confidence that the public reposes in the system of policing of a nation."
Hence before summing up, the division bench ordered the state police chief to ensure proper and proactive steps are taken to implement the circulars on the proper behavior of police to the public. Such a approach would be quintessential so as to ensure that no citizen feels fear in approaching an officer for assistance and this nation can finally be rid forever of the colonially-cemented apprehension of the police being persecutors and tormentors, rather than being their friend in need as the police force is now perceived in various other countries, the court stated.
Read the Judgment Here