Chennai: Madras High Court on Friday lambasted the state government and Chennai police for the early morning arrest of 82-year-old social activist 'Traffic' Ramaswamy on March 11 and directed that he be immediately shifted to the Government Super Speciality Hospital as a normal patient and that he not be retained in the convict ward.
Justice TS Sivagnanam before whom the petition filed by Ramaswamy's friend came up observed he was not a criminal and deserved better treatment and directed authorities to admit Ramasamy in the multi super-specialty hospital for treatment.
The judge also called for details of police personnel involved in the operation against Ramasamy, who was picked up from his home at 4 am on charges of threatening a businessman.
A petition was filed by Ramawamy's counsel to direct authorities to take steps to safeguard the limb, liberty and life of the social worker, remanded in Central Prison, Puzhal and to provide all amenities to him.
Justice Sivagnanam before whom counsel submitted arguments, did not approve of the activist's conduct in removing illegal political hoardings and observed that there was hardly any justification for his early morning arrest and the manner he was treated. The judge also lamented that scant regard was being shown to court orders.
The prosecution submitted that after tearing down illegal hoardings on a road on March 11, Ramaswamy spoke to a private TV channel reportedly in mid road.A member of the public filed a complaint with police that day, following which he was arrested early next day.
The judge said prima facie it appeared the arrest and taking into custody of Ramaswamy at 4.00 am on Mar 12 appeared unjustified. However, no conclusion could be arrived at this stage, since authorities were yet to file their counter. They should justify their action in arresting him at 4.00 am and the need for seeking remand, he said.
The 82-year-old activist was charged by police of threatening the businessman.
Ramaswamy, an active PIL-petitioner, has to his credit PIL proceedings against illegal buildings, illegal holdings, encroachments, road rule violations and abuse of power by politicians and bureaucrats.
The petitioner said there was no reasonable cause to arrest Ramaswamy early on March 12. He was produced before the Magistrate and remanded to judicial custody and confined to the Central Prison, Puzhal.
The Government Pleader submitted that before taking Ramaswamy to prison, he was taken to Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, medical evaluation done, which found he was in good health and then he was remanded to judicial custody.
The medical reports concerned were produced in court. The first stated that but for a urinary problem,his general health was stable. Another one today said that during his stay in the prison hospital, he lost conconsious, did not respond to calls, with mild dehydration, was treated and referred to the Government Royepettah Casualty.
A CT scan was taken and he was admitted in IMCU. Later he gained consciousness and was transferred to the Convict Ward, at Government Royapettah Hospital and was being treated there.
The judge said that at this stage he is concerned about only the safety and life of Ramaswamy and directed that he be transferred to Government Super Speciality hospital and posted the matter after three weeks.