Compensation awarded to man illegally detained for half an hour by Delhi Police

Court was hearing a plea by one Pankaj Kumar Sharma seeking compensation for his “illegal arrest” and detention at Badarpur Police Station, Delhi

Expressing displeasure by the manner in which the Delhi Police inexplicably detained a man in its custody for half an hour, the Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered two police officials, responsible for the act, to collectively pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the aggrieved man.
The bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad said 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.
The judge said that it was 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.

“The fact that the Petitioner was picked up from the spot without an FIR against him, subsequently brought to the Police Station and placed in the lock-up has not been disputed by the State authorities”, the court noted.The court was hearing a plea by Pankaj Kumar Sharma seeking compensation for his “illegal arrest” and detention at Badarpur Police Station, Delhi on September 2, 2022.
The single-judge bench said that it was deeply troubled by the fact that the petitioner was not even arrested and was simply picked up from the spot, brought to the Police Station, and placed inside the lock-up for “no rhyme or reason”.

“The highhanded way in which the Police authorities have acted, throwing to winds the constitutional and fundamental rights of a citizen, is appalling”, it said.
Justice Prasad also said that the citizens are being treated by the Police authorities as if they are above the law. He opined that a punishment of censure which is not likely to have any effect on the career of the police officers will not be a sufficient deterrent to the officer.
“This Court is of the opinion that a meaningful message must be sent to the authorities that police officers cannot be law unto themselves. In the facts of this case, even though the illegal detention of the Petitioner was only for about half an hour, this Court is inclined to grant compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the Petitioner, which shall be recovered from the salaries of Respondents No.4 and 5”, the court ordered.

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