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'Indicates A Collapse Of Policing System': Kerala High Court Expresses Shock Over Handcuffing Of Man To Station Handrails

Hannah M Varghese
27 Oct 2021 11:00 AM GMT
Indicates A Collapse Of Policing System: Kerala High Court Expresses Shock Over Handcuffing Of Man To Station Handrails
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The Kerala High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the police force in a matter where a Dalit man was handcuffed to the handrail of the Police Station merely for asking for the receipt of a complaint he had preferred before the Station. Expressing shock over the incident, Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed:"How will ordinary citizens have confidence in the system if this is...

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the police force in a matter where a Dalit man was handcuffed to the handrail of the Police Station merely for asking for the receipt of a complaint he had preferred before the Station. 

Expressing shock over the incident, Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed:

"How will ordinary citizens have confidence in the system if this is what happens in a Police station? How can people walk into a police station in such a situation?"

The Court noted that besides chaining him to a railing at the station, the officer had also lodged an FIR against the petitioner under the Kerala Police Act for allegedly obstructing a police officer from discharging his duties.

"The contents of Ext.P9 report settled by the Deputy Superintendent of Police is shocking, for want of a better word."

Calling the entire matter a clear case of abuse of the process of law, the Court enquired how the police can accuse an individual of walking into a police station and stopping an officer from doing his duty.

"Are we living in a country where there is no rule of law or Constitution?" the Court retorted while seeking an action taken report from the police.

In the interim order issued in the matter, the Court had opined that although a report in the matter could be considered progress, more action needs to be taken in the matter:

"The Ext.P9 report of the Deputy Superintendent of Police certainly is the step in the right direction; but if no action has been taken thereon until now, it really indicates a collapse of the policing system."

When the matter was first taken up earlier this month, it was brought to the attention of the Court that the accused police officers were still in service. Responding to this, the Bench had remarked:

"The incidents are shocking, but what is more worrying is the submission of the learned Government Pleader – Shri.E.C.Bineesh, that the officials involved appears to be still in service, without any final enquiry having been concluded against them."

When the matter came up again, the Court took note that initially the officer in question was only transferred and it was only after a judicial intervention that he was suspended.

"How is transfer a punishment?" the judge asked in this regard. 

The petitioner alleged that he was subjected to inhuman torture all because he belongs to a vulnerable strata of society. The Court thereby asked the State Police Chief to keep this in mind before filing his response before the Court. 

"I have no doubt that going by the constitutional imperatives of this great nation, such people require the unreserved support of the legal system." 

The matter will be taken up again on 26th November. 

Note: In Sunil Batra Etc. v. Delhi Administration and Ors. Etc., [1979] 1 SCR 392, the Top Court had deprecated indiscriminate resort to handcuffs.

Case Title: Rajeev K v. State of Kerala & Ors.

Click Here To Read The Interim Order

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