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Delhi HC Awards Rs 50K Compensation to Sabziwallah Illegally Detained by Police for 23 Mins

Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that a meaningful message must be sent to the authorities that police officers cannot be law unto themselves.
Delhi High court

ON Thursday, the Delhi High Court awarded compensation of ₹50,000 to a man who was illegally detained in a police lock-up on September 2, 2022 at police station Badarpur.

Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that a meaningful message must be sent to the authorities that police officers cannot be law unto themselves.

Justice Prasad directed that the compensation would be recovered from the salaries of the two errant police personnel.

Justice Prasad was ruling on a petition filed by one Pankaj Kumar Sharma who was picked up by the police and kept in an illegal detention for half an hour.

On September 2, 2022, a complaint was received at the Badarpur police station Badarpur stating that “lady ko sabziwale ne chaku maar diya hai” (a greengrocer has stabbed a lady).

The said complaint was marked to sub-inspector (SI) Rajeev Gautam who reached the spot where he found one lady by the name of Kranti and the petitioner. The lady was not sent for any medical examination nor was her statement recorded.

Instead, SI Gautam brought the petitioner to the police station and placed him in lock-up through SI Shamim Khan at 11:01 p.m. and let the petitioner out of the lock-up at 11:24 p.m.

Justice Prasad noted that the petitioner was put inside the lock-up without any formal arrest or first information report or daily diary entry.

The petitioner then filed a complaint with the commissioner of police (headquarters), but no action was taken against the erring officers.

Stating complete inaction on the part of the police on the complaint made by him regarding his illegal detention in a police lock-up without any formal arrest, the petitioner filed a petition before the high court.

Disapproving the conduct of the police, Justice Prasad observed: “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.

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 also noted that he was 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 high-handed way in which the police authorities have acted, throwing to the winds the constitutional and fundamental rights of a citizen, is appalling,” he added.

Justice Prasad also bemoaned the way the citizens are being treated by the police authorities who behave as if they are above the law.

A punishment of censure alone is not sufficient in the facts and circumstances of this case, Justice Prasad averred while awarding the compensation.


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