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Friday, January 28, 2022

‘No reply’: HC imposes Rs 25k cost on Surat police chief, 4 cops

The bench in its order noted that the matter was adjourned twice earlier, with the police personnel being given an opportunity to file their affidavits on both occasions, except for one of the respondents -- the head constable.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
January 13, 2022 6:06:18 am
The court also asked if the Surat police commissioner had initiated an inquiry, to which the AGP responded in the affirmative. (File)

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday imposed a cumulative cost of Rs 25,000 on five policemen including the Surat police commissioner for failing to file reply over a contempt petition filed by a city resident.

The petition was filed by Juneid Faruk Saiyad (21) in July 2021 alleging he was assaulted by Salabatpura police station officers in June 2021 for allegedly violating night curfew norms.

According to Saiyad, three unarmed police constables had taken him along with six other residents of his locality, Haimsha Bawano Tekro, to the police station and assaulted them.

In the petition Saiyad has alleged that they were assaulted by five police personnel — police sub-inspector, along with three unarmed police constables and an unarmed head constable of Salabatpura police station — with “sticks, wooden logs, leather belts”, and the assault continued throughout the night,” rendering Saiyad deaf for a temporary period of time.

Saiyed in his petition has also contended that to “wiggle out of the consequences of the unlawful” assault , a false FIR of gambling was registered against him and the six others.

Even though the offences were bailable and Saiyad’s mother had offered bail for Saiyad, he was not released, with the police allegedly demanding Rs 35,000 for their release, the petitioner alleged.

Saiyad, in his petition, has also submitted that when the police sub-inspector realised that Saiyad’s physical condition has worsened because of the assault, he was released without executing the bail bond.
After reaching his home, Saiyad was immediately taken to the New Civil Hospital in Surat.

A written complaint of the assault by the police personnel was also submitted to Surat police commissioner but according to Saiyad, “the said complaint has fallen on deaf ears.”

In the petition before HC, Saiyad has sought that the five police personnel punished under the Contempt of Courts Act for “disobeying, disregarding disrespecting and not adhering to” the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court …that lays down in detail how police officials have to conduct an arrest, detention or interrogation of an accused when in police custody.

The petition was taken up for hearing Wednesday by the division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri.

Contending the petitioner’s assertion that he was “brutally beaten in police lock-up”, assistant government pleader (AGP) appearing on behalf of the state relied on an affidavit by one of the respondent — head constable Irfanali Liyakatali Saiyad — who is also the investigating officer in the case.

The court however interjected to point out that the head constable cannot be the investigating officer.
In light of the court’s remarks, the AGP requested for time from the court, further adding that while he had asked one of the police respondent to remain present in court, “one of them was having symptoms (of Covid-19) in the morning, therefore I did not ask them to come.”

The court also asked if the Surat police commissioner had initiated an inquiry, to which the AGP responded in the affirmative.

However dissatisfied, the bench then inquired from the public prosecutor on why the police commissioner had not filed his reply. The public prosecutor sought time to produce necessary documents along with the Surat police commissioner’s affidavit.

The bench in its order noted that the matter was adjourned twice earlier, with the police personnel being given an opportunity to file their affidavits on both occasions, except for one of the respondents — the head constable.

“The other respondents have not filed any statement of objections (to the petition)…Today, the learned SPP (special public prosecutor) seeks for time. Though we are not inclined to grant time, in the interest of justice and on payment of cost of Rs 25,000 payable by respondents 1,2,3 and 5 to 6 (Surat police commissioner, Salabatpura PSI, and three Salabatpura police constables) cumulatively, the matter stands adjourned to (January) 28,” the bench recorded in its order.

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