NEW DELHI: The Madhya Pradesh police came under severe criticism on Friday from the Supreme Court for keeping a US-based NRI doctor and her lawyer mother in illegal custody in 2012 and were ordered to pay Rs 5 lakh each to them for curtailing their freedom.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh also quashed cases of cheating and certain sections of the Information Technology Act registered against the victims- Dr Rini Johar (50) and Gulshan Johar (72).
“It is also clear that liberty of the petitioners was curtailed in violation of law. The freedom of an individual has its sanctity. When the individual liberty is curtailed in an unlawful manner, the victim is likely to feel more anguished, agonized, shaken, perturbed, disillusioned and emotionally torn. It is an assault on his/her identity,” the bench held.
Rini and her mother were arrested on November 27, 2012 from their residence at Pune following a criminal case against them by Madhya Pradesh Cyber police. They were accused of committing fraud of US $10,500 in a transaction related to purchase of cameras and a laptop.
In their plea, the two women claimed the police took them away without warrants and informing the local police in Pune. The two were made to travel in an unreserved railway compartment. The mother was forced to lie on the floor. No food and water was provided to them during the overnight journey.
Gulshan was released within 17 days of her arrest and Rini got bail after more than three weeks. The women alleged before they were compelled to pay Rs 5 lakh to Bhopal’s cyber cell deputy superintendent of police, Deepak Thakur as bribe.
The women moved the SC last year and initially argued the case themselves. However, the bench appointed advocate Sunil Fernandes to assist them.