Cops Who Assault Children Must Pay Relief, Rules HC
By Umesh R Yadav | Published: 14th January 2014 09:53 AM |
Policemen should face criminal charges and pay compensation from their pockets if they are found guilty of brutalising children in custody, the High Court has ruled.
In an interim order, the court directed the state government to pay `25,000 to a boy who suffered severe injuries at the hands of the police.
The 16-year-old was arrested by the Sampigehalli police following a private complaint on December 17, 2011.
Karthik, a resident of Karanth Nagar, had told the police his personal belongings had been stolen by four unknown persons. Police picked up Suhan (name changed) the same day and thrashed him so badly that he finds it difficult to walk even two years after the incident.
When his family came to know of his whereabouts, it approached the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, complaining of illegal detention and assault.
KSCPC officials visited the station on December 20, 2011, and found Suhan sitting on a blanket, handcuffed to a window. He had been allegedly tortured by the police. He was then produced before the Juvenile Justice Board and sent to a remand home.
The KSCPC, which enjoys quasi-judicial powers, issued an interim order recommending a departmental inquiry. It also recommended the suspension of Inspector Nanjundegowda and Sub-Inspector Nagaraj.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police conducted an inquiry and concluded the allegations were “unfounded”, and exonerated the Sampigehalli police.
The KSCPC verified the documents again and found a violation of fundamental rights. It passed a final order on June 18, 2012, directing Najundegowda and Nagaraj to pay `1 lakh to the boy from their pockets.
The KSCPC said they should also write a letter of apology to the boy and his family, regretting that the police had given a clean chit to the officers. It then wrote to the City Police Commissioner asking him to take action against them.
The Police Commissioner registered a criminal case against the policemen and a trial began. The policemen approached the High Court, praying for quashing of the KSCPC order. After hearing all parties, Justice A N Venugopla Gowda delivered his order last week, directing the state to pay an interim compensation of `25,000 to the boy.
In the event of conviction of the police officers by the criminal court, the court is free to direct payment of additional compensation, he said.
If the officers are found guilty and sentenced, the interim compensation should be recovered from the officers, he suggested.
In its order, the KSCPC has suggested parents accompany children, in case of assault, to the hospital. In Suhan’s case, the police had taken him for medical examination without informing his parents. Children fear to speak in the presence of policemen, the KSCPC observed.
“It is necessary that juveniles be accompanied by independent persons, including their parents, when taken to hospital for medical check-ups in order to ensure that they are able to speak freely and without fear,” the order said.
Be Kind, Cops Told
The police top brass have warned their staff against assaulting children. They have announced district-level awards for women- and child-friendly police stations across the state. Karnataka has 906 police stations.