Justice Devan Ramachandran of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the police how ordinary citizens can have confidence in the system if someone who walks into the station to file a complaint is chained to a railing and charged with the offence of obstructing an officer from discharging his duties. The court was hearing a man's plea seeking protection from harassment by two policemen.
"How will ordinary citizens have confidence in the system? How can people walk into a police station in such a situation?" the justice asked.
The man claimed that the two officers harassed him when he sought a receipt of his complaint. One of them also allegedly chained him to a railing at the station and lodged an FIR under the Kerala Police Act for obstructing a police officer from discharging his duties.
The court termed the FIR against the complainant an abuse of the process of law and questioned how an individual who had walked into a station to file a complaint stopped an officer from doing his duty. It further sought an action taken report from the police.
"Are we living in a nation where there is no rule of law or Constitution?" the court asked.
Though the officer was later suspended, he was only transferred before the court intervened, the court noted. "How is transfer a punishment?" the court asked.
The high court also enquired for any CCTV footage of the incident. Police stations are expected to have cameras in public spaces where they interact with people. The matter has been listed for further hearing on November 26.