In a landmark ruling, the Bombay high court has directed the state government to give Rs2.5 lakh as compensation to Veena Sippy, a Warden Road resident, for illegally detaining her overnight in April 2008.
“This is a case of not only gross breach of the directions issued by the apex court, but also of gross and flagrant violation of the fundamental right of life and liberty conferred by article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the division bench of justice Abhay Oak and justice AV Potdar observed. Sippy was detained overnight in connection with a bailable offence, punishable only with a maximum fine of Rs1,200.
On April 4, 2008, Sippy had approached the Gamdevi police station for lodging a complaint. The next day, she visited the police station at about 5pm. However, the then on-duty officer, sub-inspector MB Waghmare, told her that no FIR had been lodged and none was going to be lodged. According to Sippy, at that time, senior inspector Narayan Dumbre and assistant commissioner of police, Shyam Chavan were present in the police station, but they declined to see her.
Trouble started when Sippy threatened Waghmare that she would lodge a complaint against them. Thereafter she found herself booked under section 112 of the Bombay Police Act – for misbehaving with an intention of breach of peace. She was subsequently arrested and thereafter lodged in Azad Maidan police lock-up, from where she was released on bail at about 12.30pm next day. None of her relatives or friends were intimated about her arrest. The court held that the conduct of the police officers was in complete breach of guidelines laid down by the SC in DK Basu’s case.
Sippy will also get additional sum of Rs25,000 towards cost of the litigation, apart from interest at the rate of 8% per annum on the amount of compensation from the date of her arrest.