HC asks police to file status report on plea alleging illegal detention, beating by officials

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has asked the police to submit a status report on a plea alleging illegal detention and merciless beating by its officials and to preserve the CCTV footage of the concerned police post on the day of the incident.

The high court issued notice to Delhi Police on the petition by a man who claimed that he and three others were “mercilessly beaten, illegally detained, tortured by the police personnel of Police Post Turkman Gate, Police Station Chandni Mahal, Central District, Delhi, at the behest of certain private individuals at the aforesaid Police Post”.

“The status report be submitted by the State with a copy thereof being supplied in advance to the petitioner through counsel.

“In the meantime, the State shall ensure that the footage of the CCTV cameras installed at the Turkman Gate Police Post on January 25, 2021 from 7 pm onwards as well as of the camera installed outside the said police post be preserved..,” Justice Anu Malhotra said in an order passed on March 23.

The counsel for the police submitted before the court that if the CCTV footage would be available, it would be preserved.

The court said the printouts of the footage be placed on record and an updated status report be submitted and listed the matter for further hearing on April 8.

Advocate M Sufian Siddiqui, representing the petitioner, said on the evening of January 25, he and three others were mercilessly beaten, illegally detained and tortured by the police personnel of Turkman Gate police post under Chandni Mahal Police Station here in full public glare at the behest of certain private individuals, even when there was neither any written complaint against them nor a PCR call.

The counsel said the four men sustained injuries which fall within the definition of ‘grievous hurt’ and the incident was also captured in the fully functional CCTV cameras installed in and around the police post.

The counsel on behalf of the state submitted that the averments which have been made through the petition and the contentions raised on behalf of the petitioner are erroneous.

He said the matter related to a conflict between a husband-wife couple and the petitioner is the cousin of the husband and the cousins were involved in a dispute.

The plea said the petitioner has been running from pillar to post in his quest for justice and is aggrieved by the inexplicable delay, unconscionable silence and absolute inaction on the part of police authorities on his January 27 complaint and the communications sent subsequently.

It said the police has neither concluded the preliminary inquiry within the stipulated period of 15 days nor initiated any legal action against the alleged delinquent police officials nor registered the FIR, despite the information disclosing commission of cognisable offences, which tantamount to wilful disobedience of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Lalita Kumari case.

The apex court’s Lalita Kumari judgement had held that registration of FIR was mandatory if the information discloses commission of a cognisable offence. If the information does not disclose a cognisable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognisable offence is disclosed or not. If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognisable offence, the FIR must be registered.

It sought direction to the authorities to conduct and conclude the preliminary inquiry in a fair, impartial and time-bound manner under the direct supervision of a Joint Commissioner of Police or by a police officer of a higher rank on the petitioner’s complaint.

It also sought direction to forthwith secure and place on record the CCTV footage of all the cameras installed in and around the police post, pertaining to the alleged incident. PTI SKV SA