Police are protectors, not persecutors, observes Kerala high court
In the wake of a law student’s suicide in Kochi over allege dowry harassment and indifferent attitude of a police officer, the Kerala High Court orally observed that if there is a prompt action against the erring official the entire force will fall in line.
Justice Devan Ramachandran made this observation while hearing another petition filed by a youth in Kollam alleging police harassment and handcuffing at the station for seeking the receipt of a complaint he filed. The court expressed serious concern over growing number of complaints regarding police harassment and observed “God, help our state”.
“Unless police officials feel that they are accountable for their actions, nothing will change in this state. They all know it will take years for any action is initiated against them, that is why they are behaving like this,” the court observed. The court directed the state to clarify why criminal proceedings were not initiated against the officer who handcuffed and kept the youth at the gate of the police station.
“A police station is a public office, not a terror field. They are protectors, not persecutors. Any man, woman or child should feel free and confident to walk into a police station at any time,” it observed. The court also wondered how and why police believed they could do whatever they want and get away with it.
“If the state takes swift and strict action against a police officer, just one is enough, the entire force will change its attitude. Till then this will continue; people will be chained, killed and even forced to commit suicide,” it observed. The petition will be taken up again on December 10 and the government has been asked to produce details of action taken against the official.
The case relates to a Dalit youth, KV Rajeev, who complained that he was allegedly handcuffed to a hand rail at Thenamala police station in Kollam two months back and slapped another case for obstructing police after he sought a receipt of the complaint he lodged. After the case triggered protests two officers were suspended.
On Friday, the station house officer of Aluva in Ernakulam district was suspended in connection with the suicide of a law student after her parents and opposition parties alleged that his inept handling led to the death of the 22-year-old on Monday. The student had left behind a suicide note in which he blamed her husband, in-laws and police officer CL Sudheer for her death. Her husband and in-laws were arrested on Wednesday but no action was taken against the officer which led to a big protest in the state.