Anand Teltumbde arrest: Police in contempt of Supreme Court, say experts

Activist Anand Teltumbde (in black pullover) leaves the District and Sessions Court after his release in Pune on February 2, 2019.

Activist Anand Teltumbde (in black pullover) leaves the District and Sessions Court after his release in Pune on February 2, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Arrest of Dalit writer sparks debate

The arrest of Dalit writer and academician Anand Teltumbde early on Saturday sparked a debate with legal experts terming the police action “high handed”, and smacking of lack of respect for the Supreme Court’s order. However, the Maharahstra government did not comment on the arrest.

Talking to The Hindu, the additional chief secretary of the Home Department Sanjay Kumar said, “I am yet to get proper details from the police and will be able to comment once I get the report.” K. Venkatesham, Commissioner of Police, Pune said, “I cannot comment on anything as I have not seen the order passed by the court.”

Ordering the release of Mr. Teltumbde, Special Judge Vadane while terming the arrest illegal, observed: “From the Honorable Apex Court’s order, it is crystal clear that interim protection for a period of four weeks was given. Moreover, Competent Authority means the trial court, the Honorable High Court and the Honorable Supreme Court as well. Though anticipatory bail came to be rejected by this court, the accused has remedy to approach the Honorable High Court and the Honorable Supreme Court within the stipulated period of four weeks.

Senior counsel Amit Desai said, “A disciplinary action can be taken against the officer. It is a straight contempt of the court. An application can also be filed by the aggrieved party for damages.”

Senior counsel Mihir Desai, appearing for Mr. Teltumbde, said, “It is a contemptuous action by the Pune police and shows high handedness and complete disregard for the highest court of the land.”

He also said that, “We haven’t decided on the whether we want to file for contempt of court.”

Retired judges and senior counsels pushed for ‘contempt of court’ proceedings against officers of the Pune police who arrested Dr. Teltumbde. Retired Justice B.G. Kolse Patil of the Bombay High Court said, “They have no business to arrest him. The court can take suo motu action against the erring officer and put him behind bars and also suspend him.”

The officer can be charged with contempt of court, said retired Justice P.B. Sawant of the Supreme Court. “The court can decide either imprisonment or fine. They can also recommend suspension or dismissal,” said Mr Sawant.

Retired Justice Abhay Thipsay of the Bombay High Court said, “if there was a prohibition to arrest, it is a direct contempt on the part of the police officers which can lead to imprisonment of upto six months and or fine”.

Senior counsel Ashok Mundargi said, “This is a straight contempt which can lead to imprisonment and fine which can decided only by the Supreme Court.”

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:25:06 AM |

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