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Karnataka HC asks police to consider using body cameras during arrests

Karnataka high court was hearing a case where a law student had sought Rs 25 lakh compensation from the Karnataka government after police allegedly humiliated him by handcuffing him and taking him in a public bus after his arrest in a cheque bounce case.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
June 29, 2022 2:11:36 pm
Karnataka High Court (File photo)

The Karnataka High Court has asked the Karnataka police to make efforts to provide body cameras to police personnel involved in carrying out arrests, in order to maintain records for the arrest process.

The high court order comes in the context of a case where a petitioner, a law student, claimed Rs 25 lakh compensation from the state after the police allegedly subjected him to humiliation by handcuffing him during his transportation for production in court in a public bus after arrest in a cheque bounce case filed in the Belagavi region of Karnataka in 2019.

The high court rejected the plea of the Karnataka government that the petitioner Suprit Ishwar Divate was handcuffed while being taken to court on account of the lack of sufficient police staff for court duties at the Ankali police station in Chikkodi where he was detained.

The high court has directed the state “to pay a sum of Rs 2 lakh as compensation to the petitioner within a period of six weeks” on receipt of the June 10 court order.

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The government’s contention that “the handcuffing of the petitioner was resorted to since there were not enough police personnel to safeguard and prevent the escape, if any, is no excuse at all”, the high court said. “It is for the state to equip all police stations with adequate and necessary police personnel required for the purpose of discharge of duties and obligations of the state,” the single judge of the Dharwad bench of the high court noted in his order.

The high court has directed the government pleader to bring the court’s observations to the notice of the director general of police and the principal secretary of home department “so as to prepare a plan and complete the recruitment in a time-bound manner”.

The high court has also asked the state police chief to make efforts to provide body cameras to all officers carrying out arrests in order to have a record of the arrest. “The director general of police shall also endeavour to make available body cameras to all the police officers entitled to arrest a person so that the manner of arrest is recorded by such body cameras,” the high court has stated in its order.

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“The camera shall also be equipped with a microphone to record the conversations that take place at that time. The video recording as also audio recording shall be retained at least for a period of one year from the date of recording. A standard operating procedure shall be prepared by the director general of police in this regard and suitable training to be provided to such officers,” the high court observed.

The high court has said that as far as possible, policemen carrying out arrests must obtain permission from the courts to handcuff the arrested individuals. “As far as possible, permission to handcuff an undertrial prisoner would have to be taken prior to the production of the undertrial prisoner before the court and obtain an order for handcuffing from the said court. If no such permission is applied for and the undertrial prisoners were to be handcuffed, the concerned police officer would be taking a risk of such handcuffing being declared illegal and action being taken against them,” the high court noted.

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First published on: 29-06-2022 at 02:11:36 pm

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