For recovering relief given to a victim of police excess

The Madras High Court Bench here has refused to quash two Government Orders and consequential proceedings of the Virudhunagar Superintendent of Police to recover a compensation of Rs.1 lakh paid by the Government to an Army Captain from the salary of two sub-inspectors of police, two head constables and a grade-II constable who were accused of assaulting the Captain at the Pandalkudi police station on May 7, 2004.

Dismissing the writ petitions filed by the policemen, Justice K. Chandru said that the Government could continue to deduct the money from the monthly salary of the petitioners without prejudice to the ongoing departmental enquiry initiated against them.

Further, the petitioners could also approach the National Human Rights Commission, which had recommended the Government to pay the compensation, to reopen the case and alter its recommendations.

The judge pointed out that the Government had paid the compensation not only on the basis of the NHRC's recommendations but also considering the reports filed by a Revenue Divisional Officer as well as the Collector confirming police excess.

According to Captain Ganesan, hailing from Vallakottai village in Virudhunagar district, he escaped from the policemen and ran for about eight kilometres inside a forest before managing to make a phone call to his father seeking help.

No right to question

“The assault of the complainant was also telecast in a leading television channel… If this is the state of affairs for a serving Army personnel, then it does not lie in the mouth of the petitioners to question the bona fide of the Government's action as well as the recommendation made by the NHRC,” Mr. Justice Chandru said and referred to several Supreme Court judgements including the recent one passed on October 10, 2010 in CBI Vs. Kishore Singh's case to substantiate his conclusion.

Apex court observation

In that judgement, the apex court had said: “What should be done to policemen who ‘bobbitt' a person in a police station and think that they can get away with it? That is the question to be decided in this case… In our opinion, policemen who commit criminal acts deserve harsher punishment than other persons who commit such acts because it is the duty of the policemen to protect the people and not break the law themselves.

“If the protector becomes the predator, civilised society will cease to exist. As the Bible says ‘ If the salt has lost its favour wherewith shall it be salted?' (Matthew 5, Mark 9.50 and Luke 14.34-35) or as the ancient Romans used to say, “Who will guard the praetorian guards?”