The Telangana High Court expressed surprise at the police justification that lathis were used against vehicles to check for Coronavirus.
The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Sheela Sara Mathews demanding action against widespread police brutalities against persons on allegations of violating lockdown.
As regards the allegation that the police personnel of the named Police Station had damaged the vehicles parked outside the homes in a residential area, the bench expressed its surprise that the Police claimed that while checking the two wheelers parked outside the houses, "the Police had checked the vehicles using police lathies in order to see whether coronavirus was present or not".
"This explanation by the Police is, indeed, surprising. For, in order to check the presence of coronavirus, there is no need "to use the lathies. Therefore, the complete report, with regard to the alleged incident, needs to be submitted by the Police before this Court", said the bench.
The Court directed the state police to submit the injury reports of injured persons, their statements, if any recorded by the Police, and further demanded to be informed with regard to the progress made in the departmental enquiries, which have been initiated against the delinquent police personnel.
The Chief Justice-led bench, moreover, directed the production of the statements of victims recorded by the police, wherein allegedly the victims have denied the occurrence of the incident.
The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad City, told the division bench note that one who was allegedly was assaulted by the Police, in fact, was not assaulted.Instead he fell down while he was running away after noticing the police personnel approaching his area. But surprisingly, his injury report has not been submitted along with the counter-affidavit, the Court noted.
Likewise, although it is claimed that in another instance, a man was beaten up by the Police, the Police claims that while seeing the police personnel, the victim tried to run away, While running away, he fell into a manhole, thereby sustaining a fracture on his right leg. But even here, his injury report has not been filed.
"Interestingly, although the Police claim that he was shifted to the Osmania General Hospital through escort HG-174, the medical report issued by the Osmania General Hospital has not been filed along with the counter-affidavit", remarked the bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy.
"Similarly, it is alleged that the Police had assaulted a handicapped person. Yet, the Police claims that he is a regular violator of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and as many as thirteen Traffic Challans are hanging against him. Yet, none of these Traffic Challans have been submitted along with the counter-affidavit", commented the Court.
In yet another episode, it is alleged that one man was brutally attacked by the police personnel of Golconda Police Station. Due to the brutal attack, he has suffered thirty-five stitches on his face, and also suffered hairline fracture. According to the Police, he was intercepted by them as he was driving the two wheeler without wearing a mask, and without wearing a helmet. Moreover, an altercation had taken place between the police personnel and the victim, and later he was identified under another name. During the altercation, accidentally, the lathi hit his spectacles and it caused a bleeding injury under his right eye. Moreover, according to the Police, immediately, he was taken to Olive Hospital, Nanal Nagar.
"However, the injury report has not been produced before this Court. Obviously, a single injury to right eye cannot cause an injury requiring thirty-five stitches, and a hairline fracture. Thus, it is obvious, that the correct facts have not been mentioned in the counter-affidavit. Furthermore, although it is claimed that (the concerned police official) was suspended by order dated 29.04.2020, and a detailed enquiry has been ordered against him, neither the copy of suspension order, nor the further development in the departmental enquiry has been submitted along with the counter-affidavit", said the bench.
Noting that a video circulating over the internet shows a Sub-Inspector of Police abusing the local persons, who had stepped out for groceries, the Court said that though the said allegation has been admitted in the counter- affidavit, neither the name of the delinquent police personnel has been revealed, nor the final outcome of the departmental enquiry initiated against the delinquent officer has been mentioned.
According to the counter-affidavit, the Court observed that a man who was allegedly beaten up by the police personnel at Shastripuram area, has denied the said incident. Yet, the counter-affidavit does not contain any statement by him in order to support the claim made by the Police in the counter-affidavit that he had denied such incident. "Moreover, it is, rather, surprising that the Police has not further investigated into the source of information with regard to the alleged incident", said the bench.
Similarly, although The Hindu English Daily, dated 24.03.2020 had, reported that one Mr, Ravi Reddy, a Journalist, was assaulted by two Sub- Inspectors of Police and three Constables of Begumpet Police Station, although the Police claims that Mr. Ravi Reddy has denied the said assault, the said statement has not been produced before this Court to buttress the claim made in the counter-affidavit.
The Court also noted that in several cases, where even the charge memo has been issued to the delinquent officer, there is no information as to the final outcome of the enquiry, and in others, even the victims have not been identified.
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