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Posted at: Nov 20, 2019, 7:28 AM; last updated: Nov 20, 2019, 7:28 AM (IST)

Acts of barbarism not expected of cops: HC

Those committing excesses and brutally beating up detainees cannot claim any protection under the CrPC, rules Bench

Khaki wrath

  • Scuffle takes place between police officials and other persons, leading to registration of FIR
  • Complainant and others called for investigation, taken into custody, brutally beaten up in lock-up
Acts of barbarism not expected of cops: HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that police officials cannot be expected to indulge in barbaric acts in a civilised society, while making it clear that cops committing excesses and brutally beating up detainees cannot claim protection under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The provision makes it clear that prior sanction from a competent officer is needed to prosecute a government servant for alleged criminal act done in discharge of his official duty and “no court shall take cognisance of such offence except with previous sanction”.

The ruling by Justice Anil Kshetarpal came on a petition filed by Ashok Kumar and another police official against Haryana and another respondent, challenging an order passed by the Faridabad Additional Sessions Judge summoning them for criminal intimidation, causing hurt and other offences under Sections 323, 325, 506 and 34 of the IPC.

Justice Kshetarpal observed that it had come in evidence that a scuffle allegedly took place between the petitioner-police officials and other persons, which led to registration of an FIR on July 17, 2014. The complainant, along with others, was called for investigation. They were then taken into custody and police officials brutally beat them when they were in lock-up.

Referring to Section 197, Justice Kshetarpal asserted that protection under the provision was with respect to offences alleged to have been committed by public officials while “acting or purporting to act” in discharge of official duty. In the present case, allegations were of brutally beating up the respondents in a police station after they were called to join investigation.

Justice Kshetarpal added that the petitioners had been summoned for offence under Section 325 of the IPC, which meant that the Additional Sessions Judge formed prima facie opinion that they had voluntarily caused grievous hurt to the complainant-respondent.

Justice Kshetarpal further noted that the question the court was called upon to answer was whether such an act of police officials was falling within the scope of the words “while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duty”.

Justice Kshetarpal added that the answer in the court’s considered opinion was in the negative. It was not the police officials’ case that the complainant and co-accused suffered injuries when the petitioners made an attempt to apprehend them. They were in police station and in custody of the police.

Justice Kshetarpal stated that in such circumstances, the injuries allegedly caused by the petitioners could not be justified and said to have been inflicted while acting or purporting to act in discharge of official duty. Dismissing the petition, Justice Kshtarpal observed that the petitioners were not entitled to claim protection.

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