The Delhi High Court on Thursday awarded Rs 50,000 compensation that is to be recovered from the salaries of the two police officers of Delhi Police in a case of illegal detention of a man.
The victim was illegally detained by the officers for half an hour in September 2022. This matter pertains to the police station Badarpur in South East Delhi.
Justice Subramonium Prasad awarded the compensation of Rs 50,000 to the petitioner Pankaj Kumar Sharma. This amount is to be recovered from the salaries of Sub-Inspectors Rajeev Gautam and Shamim Khan as they put the petitioner in illegal detention on September 2, 2022, the court said.
“It is evident that the authorities acted in a high-handed manner without respecting the petitioner’s liberty and placed him in the lock-up without following due procedure of law or the principles that have been laid down when an arrest is made,” Justice Prasad said in the judgement passed on October 5, 2023.
The bench said that the facts of the case reveal that, even though it was for a short period of time, the petitioner was deprived of his personal liberty, a right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Justice Subramonium Prasad expressed his displeasure and said, “This court is deeply troubled by the fact that the petitioner was not even arrested. He was simply picked up from the spot, brought to the police station and placed inside the lock-up for no rhyme or reason.”
“The highhanded way in which the police authorities have acted, throwing to the constitutional and fundamental rights of a citizen, is appalling. The court is troubled at the way the citizens are being treated by the police authorities who behave as if they are above the law,” the High Court said.
While disposing of the petition moved through advocate Dhruv Gupta, the HC said, “The time spent in the lock-up by the petitioner, even for a short while, cannot absolve the police officers who have deprived the petitioners of his liberty without following the due procedure established by law.”
The bench observed that a punishment of censure which is not likely to have any effect on the career of the police officers will not be a sufficient deterrent to the officer.
Justice Prasad said, “The censure should be of such nature that other officers too must not emulate such actions in future. This court is of the opinion that a meaningful message must be sent to the authorities that police officers cannot be law unto themselves.”
“In the facts of this case, even though the illegal detention of the petitioner was only for about half an hour, this court is inclined to grant compensation of Rs 50,000 to the petitioner, which shall be recovered from the salaries of respondents,” Justice Prasad ordered.
It was stated that a woman was stabbed by a vegetable vendor and she came to the shop of the petitioner. He informed the police.
Counsel for the petitioner stated that the police reached the spot, picked up the petitioner and placed him in the lock-up without registering an FIR.
The court was also told that an inquiry was also conducted against the officers on the complaint of the petitioner