In a relief to the additional DCP who made a constable do front rolls in the Patiala House courts complex for not saluting him, the Delhi high court on Wednesday held that he is not guilty of criminal contempt of court but termed his act "most inhuman".
A Bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and justice RS Endlaw also directed the Delhi Police commissioner to ban such punishments even they were prescribed under the list of "minor punishments" under the Delhi Police Act as contended by the cops."We are of opinion that such a punishment is most inhuman in nature. Furthermore, award of such a punishment in court premises is also not proper," said the Bench, disposing of a petition filed by lawyer RK Saini seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against DCP Seju P Kuruvila.
An angry justice Sikri told Kuruvila who was present in the court: "You have full right to enforce discipline. We accept it that extent. But the kind of punishment you gave is totally unacceptable".
The court, however, said criminal contempt proceedings could not be initiated against the DCP as the incident had happened outside a courtroom and had nothing to do with a pending case.
Lawyers Pawan Sharma and SS Gandhi, who appeared for the Delhi Police commissioner and the DCP, defended him saying front rolls were a permitted form of punishment under Delhi Police Act.
But the Bench was not convinced.
Asking them to submit proof regarding it, the court said: "The moment it is shown that punishment is within the rights then we close the matter. In any case, a punishment of this kind has to be forbidden".
The court also rapped constable Dinesh Kumar too, saying: "It is to be borne in mind that his dereliction of duty when posted at a high risk area was a serious offence, especially going by the blast in Delhi high court. It is expected of police officials posted in the premises to be on guard utmost caution.