The Bombay high court has directed Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration to pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to an editor of a local daily who was handcuffed and paraded through crowded areas in Daman.
Besides, the division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed has also ordered departmental action against three erring police personnel who handcuffed the journalist, Satish Sharma, and paraded him on July 2, 2009.
An FIR was registered by Diu police station against Sharma, who claimed that he had written several articles exposing the then administrator of the union territory. On June 30, 2009, he was arrested after he surrendered before the Diu police. However, instead of producing him before a local magistrate, the police took him to Daman – roughly 700 kms away by bus. After alighting from the bus, at Daman he was paraded through market places and crowded streets from the bus stand to Daman police station.
On Sharma’s complaint, a local court conducted an enquiry into his allegations of unnecessary handcuffing and parading in that condition through market places and crowded streets, and concluded that the allegations were true. The finding was also upheld by the Press Council of India where Sharma had filed a separate complaint.
Sharma then approached HC after his representations seeking compensation were ignored by the local administration. Relying on the findings of the local court as also of the Press Council, the high court held that the action on part of the police was gross violation of Sharma’s fundamental rights, and the journalist was thus subjected to humiliation and enormous embarrassment.
“The action of handcuffing and parading the petitioner through the streets is completely contrary to the directions of the apex court,” the bench said referring to the SC ruling in Prem Shankar Shukla’s case laying down that no prisoner shall be handcuffed or fettered routinely or merely for the convenience of the custodian.
The HC has now ordered the union territory to pay the compensation amount to the journalist within two months, failing which the administration will also have to shell out interest at the rate of 9% per annum. Besides, the court has also granted the union territory liberty to recover the compensation amount from the three erring police personnel.