21 Dec 2021 4:00 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed that brutality in police stations will come to a close once functional CCTV cameras are installed in its premises, particularly inside the cells.Justice Devan Ramachandran was adjudicating upon an incident 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 Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed that brutality in police stations will come to a close once functional CCTV cameras are installed in its premises, particularly inside the cells.
Justice Devan Ramachandran was adjudicating upon an incident 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.
Upon being informed that the man was then charged with the offence of obstructing the officer from discharging his duties, the Single judge observed:
"Aren't you ashamed to say that a man walked into a police station and used force to obstruct an officer from discharging his duties? It is very unfortunate that a citizen who came to make a complaint was chained to the railing and then slapped with the offence under section 117 (e) of the Kerala Police Act for obstructing a police officer from discharging his duties. This kind of conduct occurred in 18th-century dungeons."
The Judge suspected that the police was keeping the case under section 117 (e) pending against the complainant so that it can later negotiate with him to drop his allegations against the officer who had chained and lodged the FIR against him.
"If you want officers to be scared of the rule of law, the state has to take strict action against them in such cases," the Court added.
Significantly, the Bench also said:
"I cannot let any citizen feel lesser than the other. Whenever I see that happening, I will step in."
The Court further remarked that despite slamming the police force repeatedly over the past few months for harassment, instances of police brutality were still being reported.
Then it was pointed out by the Judge that police stations should not be permitted to operate in this manner and that this brutality can be contained only when functional CCTV cameras are installed at the stations. During the hearing, the judge also expressed concern over the fact that the police was now attempting to "retrieve" a CCTV footage of the incident which occurred in February this year to find out the truth behind the complainant's claims, although the video was reported to be not available in May by a DySP.
The DySP had submitted this in a report detailing the internal inquiry made into the allegations made by the complainant against two police officers, one of them an SHO.
This comes after the Inspector General of Police (IGP) submitted in a memo that the CCTV footage of the incident has to be retrieved and perused before deciding whether to drop the case lodged against the complainant under section 117 (e) of the Kerala Police Act. This report was filed upon the Judge's direction during the last hearing of the case.
However, the Court said:
"This statement is of some concern as had the footage been available when the DySP made inquiries, as stated in an affidavit filed on October 22, 2021, the entire incident would have come out in the open. The DySP had said that there was no CCTV footage. So I do not know how the IGP proposes to retrieve the footage or where the police are going to search for it."
Accordingly, the court directed the police to file an affidavit on why the complainant be not compensated under the public law remedy for the trauma and harassment suffered by him. The matter has been listed for hearing in the second week of January 2022.
Also Read: People Will Continue To Be Chained, Killed Until State Takes Prompt Action: Kerala High Court On Handcuffing Of Man To Station Handrails By Police
Case Title: Rajeev K v. State of Kerala & Ors.