While searching for suspects/accused, the police should not harass their family members, the State Human Rights Commission has cautioned.

Commission Member Jayanthi passed the order while recommending to the Tamil Nadu government to pay Rs.10,000 to a boy who was detained by the police in 2007. The rights body said the Director-General of Police should issue necessary instructions to station-house-officers in the matter.

The complainant, belonging to Cuddalore district, said following a land dispute between his family and another, he filed a police complaint. But the police did not take action.

Instead, the police tried to arrest him. He came to Chennai and filed an anticipatory bail petition. As he could not be arrested, on July 22, 2007, the police took his son, then aged 17, and detained him in custody from 6 a.m. However, he was released at 10 p.m. the same day after obtaining a letter from the village president that he would be produced the next day. Due to fear, the boy did not go to school the next day.

The complainant requested the Commission to take action against Murugesan, the then Inspector, for detaining his son in the Ramanatham police station.

In the counter, it was stated that the boy was not detained. No such entry was found in the General Diary and Para Book. Narrating the events of the day the boy testified before the Commission that when he was sleeping the Inspector came with three policemen to ask for his father’s whereabouts.

Noting the details of the testimony, Ms.Jayanthi said, “It is difficult to think that all the events which actually took place originated from the imagination of the minor boy, especially the act of tying of arrack drums along with a bootlegger to be kept in the van and that he was given lemon rice for lunch at the police station.”

The Commission held that the Inspector violated the minor’s rights by detaining him to nab his family members.

It ordered that the government recover the sum paid to the boy from Mr. Murugesan's pay and allowances.

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