Calling forward rolls inhuman and prohibiting its use against erring city policemen,the Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside a contempt notice against Additional DCP Seju P Kuruvilla who allegedly punished a constable with forward rolls at the Patiala House courts complex for dereliction of duty.
The court was informed that the forward-roll punishment formed part of the drill and training that policemen are made to undergo,and that relevant police rules treat it as a minor punishment.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw set aside the contempt notice also in view of the argument that the act,though it may have outraged the public,did not legally qualify as contempt of court because it never interfered with the judicial process or administration of justice.
The bench said it could not penalise Kuruvilla for meting out the punishment to the constable if it was so provided under rules.
What the officer did may not be beyond his authority,but it was certainly inhuman…Therefore,the Commissioner of Police ought to issue necessary directives to all officials,prohibiting them from handing out such punishment to erring policemen,especially in full public view… Punishment of this nature has to be forbidden even if it is provided under the Punjab Police Rules, the bench said.
During the hearing,Kuruvilla,who was present in court,was asked to step forward by Justice Sikri. You should enforce discipline… and we all appreciate it,but not like this. It is not the right way, the judge told Kuruvilla.
The court had earlier questioned his act of meting out punishment to the constable then and there and remarked that if this was the law,then the Mumbai terror attack convict should have been hanged right after he was arrested with a firearm.
The court also censured the constables conduct after being informed that despite being posted at a high security spot like a court complex,he was not frisking people since he was busy on the phone.