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HC directs Karnataka govt. to pay ₹3 lakh compensation for illegal arrest and torture of a young advocate by police

Court directs State Police chief to hold departmental inquiry; asks the Superintendent of Police to supervise the youth’s criminal case against police personnel

January 21, 2023 10:02 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 09:52 am IST - Bengaluru

The High Court of Karnataka directed the State government to pay a compensation of ₹3 lakh to a 23-year-old for violating his personal liberty by arresting him without even registering a First Information Report against him, sans a warrant, and assaulting him at his house, in the police jeep and at Punjalakatte police station in Dakshina Kannada district.

Also, the court directed the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police to initiate a departmental inquiry against Suthesh K.P., sub-inspector of police, Punjalakatte police station, and his cohorts or any other officer, after identifying those who had indulged in the act of illegal arrest and alleged assault.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order on a petition filed by Kuldeep, a resident of Puthila village in Belthangady taluk. The High Court has also given liberty to the petitioner to seek more compensation from the civil court by way of private law remedy.

Also, the High Court directed the district Superintendent of Police to supervise the investigation into the criminal case, registered against the accused police personnel on January 5, 2023, after the High Court questioned about non- registration of the FIR against the police based on the complaint lodged by the petitioner on December 9.

‘Megalomaniac’ police personnel

The High Court noted that the petitioner, who had registered as an advocate on November 2, 2022, was arrested on December 2, 2022, by the police and his personal liberty was “torn into smithereens by a few, megalomaniac and mayhem happy, police personnel in an act of outrage of his human rights” in connection with a complaint arising out of civil dispute of the petitioner with the owners of the adjacent land.

“If a young advocate could be treated in the manner of what he has been meted out... a common man will not be able to bear the brunt of repetition of such treatment. It is, therefore, the perpetrators of such illegality and violators of law, as is laid down by the apex court, cannot be left off the hook,” the court observed.

The petitioner had obtained an ex-parte temporary injunction from a civil court on December 1, 2022, against the owners of his neighbouring land against blocking a pathway. On December 2, he gave a complaint to the police that his neighbour was attempting to erect a gate to close the pathway to the petitioner’s land and informed the civil court’s order.

However, the police closed his complaint on the same day stating that it was a civil dispute and came to his house around 8 p.m. on December 2 stating that the landowner had complained that the petitioner had trespassed into their land and stolen the gates. The police allegedly assaulted the petitioner and manhandled his mother, and some of these activities were recorded on a mobile phone by one of his relatives.

The records would reveal that he was assaulted and tortured throughout his travel in the police jeep, and the FIR was registered only subsequently, and he was threatened to give evidence against himself to admit the allegations, the High Court noted, after going through electronic evidences.

“When the State or its agents fear the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the State or its agents, there is tyranny,” court observed.

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