Delhi High Court Orders ₹50,000 Compensation for illegal Detention by Police Officials
In a significant legal decision, the Delhi High Court has issued a ruling that mandates a compensation of ₹50,000 for a man who endured an unlawful 30-minute detention by the police. The court underscored the importance of sending a strong message to authorities that police officers cannot act beyond the bounds of the law.
Justice Subramonium Prasad expressed dismay over the arbitrary detention of Pankaj Kumar Sharma by Delhi police. The court voiced its concern, stating, “This court is deeply troubled by the fact that the petitioner, Pankaj Kumar Sharma, was not even arrested. He was simply apprehended at the scene, taken to the police station, and confined in a cell without any justifiable cause.”
Mr. Sharma had approached the court to seek compensation for his illegal arrest and detention, which transpired on September 2, 2022, at Police Station Badarpur.
During the investigation, it was revealed that at approximately 9:00 pm, a dispute had erupted between a woman named Kranti and a vegetable seller, leading to her injury. Seeking refuge, Kranti went to Mr. Sharma’s shop, who then called the police. However, upon their arrival, the police detained Mr. Sharma and placed him in custody without filing any First Information Report (FIR) against him.
Delhi police conceded before the High Court that Mr. Sharma was detained without proper legal grounds. An inquiry was subsequently initiated against Sub-Inspector Rajeev Gautam and Sub-Inspector Shamim Khan, resulting in their censure.
However, Justice Prasad deemed this punishment insufficient, remarking, “The court is troubled by the manner in which citizens are being treated by the Police authorities, who often act as if they are above the law. Censure alone is inadequate considering the facts and circumstances of this case.”
Justice Prasad emphasized that despite the brevity of Mr. Sharma’s deprivation of personal liberty, it violated his rights protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The judge condemned the high-handed conduct of the police authorities and stressed the importance of adhering to due legal procedures.
The High Court ruled that censure alone would not serve as a strong enough deterrent for the officers involved. Consequently, the court directed that the compensation of ₹50,000 be deducted from the salaries of the two officers responsible for the unjust detention, with the aim of discouraging similar actions by other law enforcement officials in the future.