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People Will Continue To Be Chained, Killed Until State Takes Prompt Action: Kerala High Court On Handcuffing Of Man To Station Handrails By Police

Hannah M Varghese
26 Nov 2021 11:45 AM GMT
People Will Continue To Be Chained, Killed Until State Takes Prompt Action: Kerala High Court On Handcuffing Of Man To Station Handrails By Police
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Police have to be protectors, not persecutors, the Court observed.

The Kerala High Court gave the State government a severe dressing down over its inaction in a matter where a Dalit man was handcuffed to the handrail of a Police Station merely for asking for the receipt of a complaint he had preferred before the Station.When informed that the responsible police officer had been suspended, Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed:"Unless the police...

The Kerala High Court gave the State government a severe dressing down over its inaction in a matter where a Dalit man was handcuffed to the handrail of a Police Station merely for asking for the receipt of a complaint he had preferred before the Station.

When informed that the responsible police officer had been suspended, Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed:

"Unless the police officials understand that they are accountable for their actions, nothing will change in this State. They know it'll take years before any action is initiated against them for their misdeeds, that's why they are behaving like this." 

The Court asked if any criminal action had been taken against the concerned officer. Government Pleader E.C. Bineesh responded that none had been taken so far. 

To this, the Court retorted:

"Isn't handcuffing a man in a police station a criminal offence? Shouldn't a criminal case be registered against him? Why do you always restrict punishments to police officers with disciplinary action? What is this hesitation to take action against police officers? Police have to be protectors, they cannot be persecutors. 

In the said case, the man had not only been harassed by the police officer upon asking for the receipt but had also been accused of obstructing the officer from discharging his duties. The Court found this rather improbable, questioning the odds of a common man obstructing an officer within a police station.  

The bench further wondered how and why the police believed they could do whatever they want and get away with it. It added:

"A police station is a public office, not a terror field. Any man, woman or child should feel free and confident to walk into a police station at any time."

Enraged by complaints alleging police harassment pouring in before the Bench, the Single Judge also remarked, 'God help our State.'

The bench also elucidated that it was well aware that there are only a handful of police officers in the force who engage in such exploitations, but noted that to the public, such instances tarnish the image of the entire police force. 

The Government Pleader sought further time of two months to complete the ongoing enquiry into the assertions made in the petition. Although this request was acceded to, the Court directed the State to clarify why the concerned officer was not slapped with criminal charges. 

Before concluding the proceedings, the Court observed:

"If the State takes swift and strict action against one police officer, just one is enough, the entire police force would change its attitude. Till then, this will continue; people will be chained, killed and even forced to commit suicide."

The matter will be taken up again on 10th December by which time the State has been asked to produce an explanation as to why no criminal action has been taken against the responsible police officer. 

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

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

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