Mumbai: Observing that Maharashtra government always took a light and casual approach to allegations against policemen, the Bombay High Court has directed a departmental inquiry against a police officer for illegally detaining a man for a day.
A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and S B Shukre was hearing a petition yesterday filed by Chandrakant Vannam that he was illegally detained by the Wadala TT police for a day without any case registered against him last year.
Vannam, a resident of suburban Sion Koliwada, was allegedly detained by the police on September 9, 2012 after his neighbour complained to the police that he was conducting illegal construction in his hutment.
"Although there was no FIR lodged, Vannam and five labourers were detained in the lockup by assistant police inspector Tukaram Jadhav. The police imposed a fine of Rs 12000 on Vannam. Vannam`s wife could pay the amount only the next day after which Vannam was released," advocate Sanket Patil said.
Aggrieved by this, Vannam wrote letters to the senior police inspector and deputy commissioner of police but did not get any response following which he petitioned the High Court.
The state government informed the High Court on Wednesday that it would conduct a preliminary enquiry after which it would decide if departmental inquiry is required.
Irked by this, the High Court said, "We are appalled and shocked at the government`s response. We are disturbed by the fact that the state is willing to only conduct preliminary enquiry. Such response shows that allegations against police officials are taken very lightly and casually."
"Once law does not permit any detention we see no scope for preliminary enquiry. We do not see why preliminary enquiry is required to ascertain the truth behind the allegations. Departmental inquiry is required to see whether there is a case of misconduct, dereliction of duty and act unbecoming of a police officer," the court said.
The court directed the competent authority to initiate departmental inquiry against the errant police official and submit a report within four months.
"We want to impress upon the state government and senior police officials that steps should be taken regularly to identify inefficient and corrupt police officials. Guilty should be brought to book. This will ensure that public trust on police force is not shaken," the court said.